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urban ropeways (summary)

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Detachable ROPEWAY trams
or called "Cable Propelled Transit" or "urban gondolas" ( U.S. / CAN )
as public transport vehicles of the FUTURE ?

PLEASE NOTE: This single page contains suggestions for small details, descriptions, and for a (networked) cable car system of the future, theoretical ideas, that go beyond the state of the art of the present and needs testing and development!

The cable car in the city has a future. Intra-urban gondolas can solve many traffic problems and transport problems, especially in the developing world. Renewable energy can be used for sustainable transport, CO2 emissions will be avoided, exhaust emissions are significantly reduced in the streets and at the same time increasing the quality of life of urban residents.

Detachable ropeways (gondolas detachable) are used in Europe for most common for transportation of people at winter sports. The mobilization as an intra-urban traffic system on plain ( ! ) is sporadic used, most times built on the occasion of an exhibition. Exceptional cases are Medellin (Republic of Colombia), the town Tschiatura (Republic of Georgia, Western Asia) or at the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, China, Taiwan or Saudi Arabia.

Detachable Ropeways as an
area net traffic system ( urban gondolas) are a novelty in the world.

Guenther Ecker's ideas about
Detachable Ropeways as Intra-Urban Traffic Systems were in 1998 published for the first time at the "International Days for Sustainable Urban Transport", 1998/09/21-24, Linz, Austria.

The preferences…

  • high transportation efficiency (up to 4,000 persons/hour one direction,

both directions double the quantity),

  • no waiting periods (next cable car in 30 seconds) ; it's an accurate public transport system
  • 7 days a week,
  • low noise level, traffic from 5 to 24 o'clock possible,
  • low costs in operation (no drivers necessary, but maintenance at night )
  • safe (softly gliding over the motor cars) and without handicaps by means of motor cars

or for motor cars,

  • always on time, not any delays as a result of car-jams, slippery ice, snow, wrong parked cars, crowded streets, scenes of accidents, failures of steering, time of rest of drivers,…
  • ecologically beneficial (low noise level, not any waste gases in the street, saving CO2 )
  • saving energy (ropeways are running or zhe gondolas be docked only if required; slight transported masses of the cabins),
  • high automation grade (low costs for personal),
  • friendly for pedestrians, handicaped persons, wheel-chair-driver, children prams,

because of the lowering cable-cars at the stations to pedestrian level,

  • fast (20-30 km/h; going through without a stopping without declutching at stations possible),
  • new railway constructions are relative simple (insignificance space required),
  • overhead across of motor-roads possible;low-priced than new construchtion of subways,
  • a simple principle of driving elements (stationary) for decades proved and optimized technology
  • highest attractivity (view, design, newness, exclusivity)
  • high-technology of european companies

…make ropeways at local traffic arterial roads to a true and attractive alternative to motor car traffic(jams), motor bus traffic and tramways.

As a result of the possibility and high probability to
reduce motor car traffic, we can look forward to save a big quantity of energy, waste gases and CO2.

Detachable Ropeways could be installated in all overcrowded areas and cities. The solution is easily transferable to areas with problems with traffic or space, congested roads and small budget and is a new approach to the solution of these problems.

Other public transportation vehicles have a higher transport capacity, but they need space, their own driveways and are more expensive. You have to decide between (the cost) of one subway line or of a large network of detachable ropeways.


up to...

subway :

60.000 passengers each direction and hour

light rail :

20.000 passengers each direction and hour

tramway :

10.000 passengers each direction and hour

funicular :

8.000 passengers each direction and hour

ropeway :

5.000 passengers each direction and hour

bus :

3.500 passengers each direction and hour

Cable cars, also known as urban ropeways or aerial tramways or urban gondolas, don’t get much respect. These types of transportation systems, in which a cabin or other conveyance is suspended from a fixed cable and pulled by another cable, are often thought of as tourist-movers. But cable cars can have some practical applications in urban settings. They are especially useful where inclines are too steep for conventional mass transit and where they can serve as feeders to bus and metro systems. They have been successfully applied in growing cities of the developing world, where slums are often clustered on precipitous hills surrounding urban centers.
Source: [ external link to ]

Look at the video report of
German Broadcast Deutsche Welle
about Metro-Cable de Medellín (Colombia)

Cable Cars in Colombia in English language [ external link to,,14038,00.html ]
Teleféricos en Colombia, en lengua Español [ external link to,,14044,00.html ]
Teleféricos en Colombia, en Portogues língua [ external link to,,13650,00.html ]
Seilbahn in Kolumbien in Deutscher Sprache [ externer Link zu,,14034,00.html ]
Cable Cars in Colombian, perhaps in Arabic language ( I cannot read this typeface )
[ external link to,,13327,00.html ]
Cable Cars in Colombian, perhaps in Chinese Mandarin language
( I cannot read this typeface ) [ external link to,,13311,00.html ]

Close your eyes and try to imagine a transit technology

  • that was ultra safe (safest of all transit, safer even than commercial air travel);
  • ultra reliable (most reliable of all transit);
  • ultra-cheap to install (cheapest of all transit);
  • didn’t disrupt surface traffic or local businesses during construction);
  • ultra quick to install (1/3rd the time of any other transit);
  • ultra-cheap to install (1/3rd the cost of streetcar or LRT),
  • ultra cheap to operate (no drivers, no high maintenance);
  • totally green (all electric);
  • completely automated (one ‘driver’ could run 20 vehicles);
  • had one engine/drive train (for those 200 vehicles);
  • was handicap friendly;
  • had no wear and tear on roads or other infrastructure;
  • was the fastest of all transit modes;
  • was unaffected by congestion;
  • was virtually silent (noise footprint indiscernible over ambient street sounds;
  • had a geographical footprint that required but 1/5000th of a typical roadway;
  • was ‘mug-proof’ (who’s going to try to assault someone locked in a vehicle with a close-circuit camera watching the whole time – and a cop waiting at the next station?);
  • served to reduce crime in high-crime neighborhoods; had intermediate station stops;
  • had the switching capability of any railroad – and in a fraction of the space;
  • had a longevity measurable in decades;
  • could also handle curves, even 90 degree bends;
  • was stackable (multiple lines in same corridor – one aside the other and/or above the other);
  • stations could be integrated into existing buildings;
  • could leap not just tall buildings in a single bound, but entire blocks, interstate roadways, even raging rivers and deep chasms, even scale the steepest cliffs). If the need arose, because it was essentially an erector set, the whole kit and caboodle could be unbolted and hauled off in a matter of days.
  • Perhaps best of all, it had such an incredible view, people would flock from far and wide just for the ride.

Now open your eyes. (...) In fact, it is the least invasive (disruptive) of any transit technology. Period.

Source: Bruff, 15 June 2010 at 13:26 reply at
reply to

A video about the MetroCable of Caracas
[ external link to ]

Take a look at a video about the ropeway of
cologne (germany) [external link] (german language) or look pictures [external link] or take a look at the video at this famous website [external link] (german language) about the planned ropeway as a connection between the railway station and the zoo of Zurich, Switzerland ( with an exciting flash animation of an urban ropeway ! )

Tahoe Truckee Aerial Tram is also a private visionary project with several stations at California.
[external link to]

Take informations about the
"Roosevelt Island Tramway" [external link] (New York)

Portland Aerial Tram [external link to]

Citation: The Tram cabins travel 3,300 linear feet between the South Waterfront terminal adjacent to the OHSU Center for Health & Healing, and the upper terminal at the Kohler Pavilion on OHSU's main campus. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the Tram cabins rise 500 feet for the three-minute trip over I-5, the Lair Hill neighborhood and the Southwest Terwilliger Parkway. (...) The Tram is exceptionally safe. Concerns about the seismic history of our region have been addressed in the Tram's design. It meets the new, more rigorous Swiss standards for aerial tramways and, thus, exceeds U.S. seismic standards. The Tram is equipped with redundant (backup) drivers and generators in the event of power outages, and the entire system is under constant computer monitoring.
( Portland Tram on Youtube) [external link to]

Harbour aerial tram of Barcelona, Spain:
Citation from( )

Harbor Cable Car. The 1450 meter long harbor aerial tramway with red cars connects Montjuic and Barceloneta. It starts in Barceloneta on the top of 78 meter tall Torre San Sebastian tower, which has also a restaurant on its top accessible by an elevator. It has an intermediate stop at Torre Jaume I tower (close Columbus monument), which can be reached by elevator from ground–107 meter tall tower, the second tallest aerial tramway support tower in the world.
Photographic report in German language
[external link to]
Photographic report in French language
[external link to ]

The gondola project [external link] of Steven Dale, Totonto, Canada
( )

Peter Baumann (Garaventa AG):
The Importance of Ropeways in Urban Transportation [external link]
( , 356 kB)

Hercules Aerial Tram Mobility Study & Report [external link]

( )

SEEBER Anton: " The Renaissance of the Cableway -
Innovative Urban Transportation Systems from Leitner Technologies —
Innovative städtische Personentransportsysteme von Leitner Technologies —
Innovativi sistemi di trasporto urbano di Leitner Technologies
English / German / Italian
ISBN 978-88-6069-006-7, 144 pages, many colored illustrations,

Publisher: Prokopp & Hechensteiner [ externer Link zu ]
pdf-excerpt from the book, appromimately 2 MB [externer Link zu ]

Cities for Mobility:
3rd World Congress Papers of Cities for Mobility
(English language),
"Cubes of hope that touch the city" - Cable car system: a new alternative for public transport in Colombia
p. 10-12,
pdf-File 3.575 kB !
[ external Link to ]

Doppelmayr's Cable-Cars [externer Link zu ]
Oakland International Airport
[ external link to ]

A ropeway picture collection [ external link tu ]

Burnaby Mountain Gondola transit feasibility study
[external link to ]urnaby Mountain

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