Cableway as a future mobility model
The cableway system convinces not only with its well-known advantages compared to other modes of transportation but, at the same time, also with its enormous variability which makes it the right answer to various mobility needs. LEITNER ropeways, a pioneer in the field of cableway technology that has already been around for 130 years, is one of those who have contributed to this development most.
Among the greatest advantages of a cableway is its low requirement for space. As the support towers and stations need little space, cableways can be ideally integrated into the city landscape. In addition, unlike buses and trams, they use their own separate “lane” and their operation is therefore not affected by the existing traffic situation. The result: regular travel times and continual transport. Cableways’ low cost compared to other systems also speaks in their favor.
Short construction times enabled by the cableways’ modular structure are the main reason for this. Building a cableway costs a maximum of one half of the price of a tramway and one tenth of the price of a subway. Also in terms of the route, cableways are among the means of transport with the most diverse application.
Cableways can overcome greater route inclines than any ground transport vehicle and can be flexibly tailored to any terrain. In combination with their positive energy profile – lower ecological footprint and lower CO2 emissions – they represent a unique, comprehensive solution that meets the needs of any city.
Berlin cable car to become a part
One example of a perfect cableway application can be found in the German capital of Berlin. LEITNER ropeways built a cable car here in the framework of the International Horticultural Show 2017 (IGA Berlin 2017) which, given its route, quickly became a very popular means of transport not only with the IGA visitors. It has been implemented as a detachable 10-seater mono-cable circulating gondola with 65 cabins of which six have a glass floor offering a spectacular view of the exhibition grounds from a bird’s eye view.
Two successful urban projects by LEITNER ropeways: Berlin (left) and Mexico City (right). Photos: LEITNER ropeways
The total length of the route is 1.5 kilometers with an east– west orientation. Besides its three station buildings – the “Kienbergpark station” at the Kienberg – Gärten der Welt subway station, the “Wolkenhain” middle station on top of the Kienberg hill, and the “Gardens of the World” station at the IGA main entrance at the Blumberger Damm – there are only six support towers.
The cable car’s visual appearance is not its only impressive feature; so, too, is its “interim balance” after the first six months of operation: three million rides have been logged, numerical confirmation of the cable car’s importance as an IGA highlight. But this was not, by far, the end of the Berlin success story. A political debate is currently being held in the metropolis about integrating the cableway into the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG)’s public transport system.
The debate started especially thanks to positive feedback from Marzahn-Hellersdorf’s residents who became enthusiastic cable car riders very soon after the cableway had been launched. Including the installation into BVG’s tariff system would further increase the cable car’s attractiveness and contribute to an optimal utilization of its capacity. However, whether or not a positive decision is made in this respect, LEITNER ropeways is going to continue operating the cable car until 2020 with a ten-year extension option.
Mexico City with its 9.6
In deciding whether to build a cableway, LEITNER ropeways’ Mexico City project serves as an example for the governments of many other cities. Mexico’s first urban cableway operating as part of the public transport system was launched in Mexico City in 2016. The installation is almost five kilometers long, consisting of two gondola lifts. For two years, it has been playing an important role in relieving the traffic situation in Ecatepec de Morelos, a densely populated part of Mexico City.
The lifts’ sections are approx. 2,900 and 1,800 meters long with seven stations where passengers can get on and off. 10-seater cabins overcome a height difference of 55 and 62 meters. LEITNER ropeways and the city’s administration paid special attention also to the installation’s attractive design. The stations, decorated by regional, as well as international, artists enliven the city’s landscape to this day and, in doing so, enhance it with art.
The installation operates 17 hours every day, transporting 3,000 persons per hour. As a clean, environmental and modern mobility solution, this connection simplifies and improves the lives of residents and visitors of Ecatepec de Morelos. Instead of standing 50 minutes in a traffic jam, the passengers can get to their main transport link for the inner-city area of Mexico City in less than 19 minutes. The figures speak clearly: the cableway is used by an average of 18,000 people a day, making the total number of passengers since October 2016 already 9.6 million.