Recently we’ve been receiving a lot of email requests for details about gondola and cable car transit technology. Often, the requests have been coming from university students asking for help with assigned projects. The pace of requests have only increased since my recent talk with the Alberta Professional Planners Institute and a proposal for a Seattle Gondola System went live on Citytank last week.
We’re thrilled that universities and students are beginning to pick up on the idea, and we’re happy to help where we can. Unfortunately, we often receive requests that we’re unable to meet. Furthermore, such requests oftentimes sound less like students and more like foreign companies exploiting our openness in an effort to attain competitive, proprietary information.
So in an effort to ease this process in the future, let’s set a few ground rules:
ONE – University Email. If you’re a university student looking for help with a school project, please email us via your school’s email address. Sending email from your yahoo or hotmail account but saying your working on a university project only raises suspicions. Similarly, please include a few details about your university and the nature of your project. That will help us help you. Know that we will never share, distribute or publicize those details.
TWO – Blueprints and schematics. We will never provide blueprints or schematics of existing or planned cable transit systems. We will also not solicit them on your behalf from the cable industry. Such documents are intellectual property, valuable and owned by their respective designers. Please do not ask for such documents.
THREE – Repeat. We’re going to say this one again, just to make sure everyone’s listening: We will never provide blueprints or schematics of existing or planned cable transit systems. We will also not solicit them on your behalf from the cable industry. Please don’t ask.
FOUR – Keep it simple. More and more people are approaching us with ideas for excessively long, complex systems with dozens of stations and hundreds of kilometers worth of loops. Please understand that modest systems are the order of the day at least in the near term.
FIVE – Provide details. Often we’re asked by people to help them with technology choice and general advice about designing a gondola transit line. We’re more than happy to help. But to do so we need details. Without knowing the topography, desired capacities, urban environment, etc. it’s impossible. Even more than other transit technologies, gondolas are incredibly site specific. Just asking us to help you design a gondola line is like asking a chef to just help you make dinner. We need to know the ingredients you’re working with.
SIX – Read our site. Please take the time to read over the information on this site before sending us questions. We’ve put it together for just that reason. Is it perfect? Not on your life. But we truly believe it to be the most comprehensive resource on the web to learn about urban gondolas and cable propelled transit. We also think it’s at least somewhat entertaining and provocative.
SEVEN – Cost is relative. Understand that there is no standard costing mechanism for cable transit. Every system is unique and highly dependent upon the details of the system. There is no good “rule of thumb” for costing a cable transit system.
EIGHT – Trust. It’s easy to be mistrustful, hard to be trusting. We get that. If you have an idea for a system, don’t worry, we’re not going to rush off and steal it from you. More than likely, we’re going to ask you to talk to us about it and write about it on the site. One of the goals of The Gondola Project is to help empower people to dream about and create transit in their own communities. We’re not hear to steal ideas, we’re here to develop them.
NINE – Trust us again. Unless you tell us otherwise, and unless the project you’re talking about is already available within the public realm, we will never discuss the idea online. We understand the delicateness of the topic and understand that discretion is the better part of valor. We think our track record has proven this to be true.
TEN – Contact Details. We do not provide contact details for cable transit manufacturers based on a single email. All of their contacts are listed on their respective websites.
ELEVEN – Offer to contribute. Online communities such as The Gondola Project live and die by the contributions of its readers. If you’ve got an idea for a gondola system, tell us about it. Offer to write a guest post on the idea. Stumble us. Link to us. Get involved in the comments. Tweet us. The more we get to know you, the better we’re able to help you and the better we’re all able to help spread this idea.
We genuinely want to hear from everyone who is exploring this idea. We just want to make sure everyone is working from the same starting point.
(Note to our regular readers: An earlier version of this post appeared on April 7th, 2011 – apologies for the repetition, but it’s becoming necessary.)
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