San Francisco

A cable car as a building lift


Salesforce Tower is probably the most surprising attraction in San Francisco (USA). Whilst there are lifts operating in other skyscrapers, an urban cable car from LPOA, a North American subsidiary of the French manufacturer POMA, serves as an ascent aid here. Foto: Poma

The cable car connects the square in front of Salesforce Tower to the top floor of the adjoining urban transport building (Transbay Transit Center). Here, a park extends over three blocks of houses. It has vegetation paths, benches, restaurants, play areas, water fountains and public art.


The park therefore acts as a natural recreation area in the urban environment. Originally, the people responsible wanted to create an escalator access to the park but then opted for a cable car, as this can also be regarded as public art.


Since June 2018, a 20-person gondola has bridged the 45 metres between the square and the fourth- storey roof garden. The cable car is self-service for passengers, like a normal lift, and it therefore operates for 24 hours per day, as required. The journey time is less than one minute.

POMA responsible for monitoring

Installation of the POMA cable car took only six weeks. If you count all the other steps on the way, such as design review, production, installation and commissioning, the entire project took two years to complete.


Nonetheless, the contract with the French manufacturer includes not only construction of the cable car; POMA has undertaken to monitor the system remotely for five years and to provide technical support within 24 hours in case of faults.

Model for other projects

As unusual as the cable car to Salesforce Tower may seem, this solution could also have versatile uses in other cities. Wherever escalators or inclined lifts are considered, a small cable car could also be an alternative.


Such systems have no stanchions and can connect buildings in the truest sense of the word, as they are integrated into them. Besides: cable car journeys over public spaces in the busiest cities are simply spectacular. ts


  • Lengt 45m
  • Transport capacity 350 P/h/R
  • Altitude difference 21 m
  • Travel speed 1m/s
  • Number of gondolas 1
  • Gondola capacity 20 P.
  • Stanchios 0
  • Stations 2