Gondola as an economic miracle!?

According to a report published by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute at the end of January, the gondola system proposed by the Oakland Athletics will generate more than half a billion dollars of economic benefits over the rest ten years of operation.


Besides being a major boon for sports fans, the Oakland A’s new stadium may also o er many new opportunities for the city. According to a report issued by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the benefit could reach the value of three billion US dollars.

Foto: Can Balcioglu/Adobe Stock


New investments should be made also in the areas surrounding the stadium and generate thousands of jobs. “People in San Francisco ride their famous cable cars. They can come to Oakland to ride a gondola,” declared the Oakland Athletics’ team president, Dave Kaval, in an interview with local media. As in so many other places, however, transporting large numbers of people would present an infrastruc- tural problem here, too, which needs to be addressed already during the planning of the stadium.


After all, fans and workers alike want to be able to arrive to their desired destinations without long waiting times during peak hours. For the Oakland A’s, an urban cableway could be a key part of the solution to this problem.


The cableway would transport passengers from Washington Street and 10th Street in Old Oakland to Washington Street and Water Street in Jack London Square. The aerial transit system is estimated to generate an added value of some 685 million US dollars (approx. 599 million euros) for the city of Oakland.


The Institute examined the likely economic impact of the proposed gondo- la lift. Both short- and long-term impact were analyzed. Additional paths would be built for pedestrians, and commuters could save quite a lot of time by taking the gondola.


According to the report, both the construction and subsequent operation of the cableway would create new jobs for the inhabitants.

This is what a cable car in Oakland could look like. Screenshot: Oakland Athletics/ Chris Haft

The Project

- Each cabin will accommodate approximately 30 to 35 passengers.

- The installation’s route will follow Washington Street and Highway 880 and cross railway tracks at Embarcadero. Stations will be located at the Marriott City Center, near the BART Station, the 12th Street and Jack London Square.

- Each ride will take approximately three minutes. Jack London Square Station will be located some three minutes on foot from the stadium.

Construction and Operation

According to preliminary analyses commissioned by the A’s, construc- tion of the two-kilometer-long gondola cableway with two stations is estimated at 123 million US dollars. This estimate corresponds with the expected cost of another similar gondola lift which should connect Dodger Stadium with Union Station in Los Angeles (for more information on this project, see pages 40 and 41).


Annual operation costs are estimated at approx. 4.6 million US dollars. Variable costs, such as the cost of electric power, maintenance and capital reserves, are already included. To provide a reliable calculation of the economic impact of the construction and oper- ating expenses, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute used a model which takes into account also possible “leaks” due to necessary expenditures outside the region.

Performance bene ts

The greatest benefit the gondola would bring to the city of Oakland, however, is more visitors. The report explains that the new installation will bring not only more fans to the stadium to watch the games, but, in a long run, also more visitors to the region. Economic bene ts will be gen- erated also in the form of increased spending.


To calculate the overall economic impact of increased visitor spending, the report works with data on overall sales volumes in the districts where the gondola will operate. For 2018, this gure is estimated at 30.8 billion US dollars. To estimate the volume of sales to be generated at Jack London Square and in Old Oakland, data relating to employment from the data bank of the US Census Bureau (Longitudinal Employment Household Dynamics) were used.


Thanks to these data, the authors of the report were able to calculate that, in 2018, a turnover of around 303 million US dollars would be generated in the district around Jack London Square and a turnover of around 433 million US dollars in Old Oakland. tm

Bout the institute

Das Bay Area Council Economic Institute ist seit 1990 der führende Think Tank, welcher sich auf die wirtschaftlichen und politischen Fragen der San Francisco / Silicon Valley Bay Area konzentriert, einer der dynamischsten Regionen in den Vereinigten Staaten und das weltweit führende Zentrum für Technologie und Technologie Innovation. Das Institut ist ein zuverlässiger Partner und Berater sowohl der Unternehmensführung als auch der Regierung.