OITAF 2017:ropeways-motion and emotion


Ropeways – Motion and Emotion” was the title of the 11th International Ropeway Congress held at the beginning of June for the first time ever in Bolzano. 350 participants from 30 countries attended the event to exchange industry expertise and learn about new developments and trends.

The Governor, Arno Kompatscher, opened the Congress with the following words: “It has been my wish for a long time to hold an OITAF Congress in Bolzano. I am very proud that the time has finally come.” And he continues: “South Tyrol is a pioneering state as far as ropeway transport is concerned. The mountains are literally pre-destined for construction of ropeways and so it is no surprise that it was here that the first ropeway transporting people was put into operation in 1908.


Since then many years have passed and many renowned ropeway manufacturers and companies producing alpine technology are now based in South Tyrol.”Martin Leitner, who, after six years, is turning over his office as OITAF’s President to Jörg Schröttner from the Federal Ministry of Transport, Technology and Innovation from Vienna, also confirms that it has long been his priority to bring the Congress to Bolzano.


He reflects on his tenure: “During my term of office as OITAF’s President, I have held 100 sessions and traveled approx. 13,290 kilometers. During this time, the ropeway industry has been undergoing a massive development world-wide.”

Foto: foto-dpi.com

Markus Pitscheider, Generalsekretär der OITAF, Jörg Schröttner, neuer OITAF-Präsident und Michael Leitner, Ex-OITAF-Präsident.

New Prospects for Cities

Leitner emphasized that ropeways are tremendously important not only for tourism but increasingly also as a transport solution in urban areas. He named South America and Ankara as examples and added that even in Europe the level of acceptance of ropeways as a means of transport outside the tourist industry is slowly growing.


He says: “The Congress is a way for us to regularly present our experience to the outside world, share it with one another, to seek general consensus and present recommendations for new markets.” To achieve this is the task of study committees and work groups, a total of 140 people who sit together and thoroughly discuss the most diverse themes such as ropeway technology, environment, rope inspections, operation optimization, legal matters etc. several times a year.

Toulouse – Overcoming Great Obstacles

Cyril Ladier, head of the public transport system in Toulouse, describes how useful ropeways can be in city areas. Half-a-million people live in this fourth largest French city and around 15,000 new immigrants are registered annually. “The city has a sophisticated transport system: subways, trams, buses, car-sharing and car-pooling which should help ensure that residents drive their cars as little as possible.


Despite this, existing means of transport are not sufficient to bring people to the places where they work or go to school,” says Ladier.

For this reason, not only are there plans for 10 new bus lines and an expansion of the subway network, but a new mobility plans foresees also a ropeway. It should be built in the center and go up a hill where there is a hospital, a university and also a center for cancer research, all together with a total of 3,000 work places. Ladier emphasizes that: “The river with the surrounding protected local recreational area situated exactly in the middle of the route represent a special challenge.”


And it is not only environmental issues that need to be addressed here, but also weather-related technological issues. Ladier continues: “Winds of up to 72 km/h are not rare here!” The three-kilometer-long ropeway should also be designed to optimally fit in with the city image, of course, and last but not least, be able to transport as many people as possible per hour (5,000 – 7,000) - and all that for a price as reasonable as possible.


The project, which has been planned since 2006, has been assigned to the company POMA and is slowly approaching completion: Now the ropeway just needs to be built.

Das größte Projekt weltweit

Renon cable car connects the capital of Bolzano with Soprabolzano and is extremely popular with commuters and guests. Photo: foto-dpi.com

South American Success Story

Cesar Dockweiler, from the state enterprise Mi Teleferico in La Paz, Bolivia, reports about a ropeway that is already in operation. It is a success story: The ropeway project – the world’s largest – was implemented by the Doppelmayr/ Garaventa Group and in its first phase was put into operation in 2014. The second phase followed in March 2017, interconnecting the city quarters of La Paz and El Alto. Since the ropeway’s launch in 2014, not only have serious traffic issues been resolved but a great contribution has been made socially.


Thanks to the ropeway, people who had not previously prospered in their city quarters gained access to education and work. The infrastructure in these disadvantaged quarters has improved and with it also the living conditions. And the project is not completed yet: 11 lines plus a supply line should be in operation by 2019. The ropeway network will cover 32 km, have 1498 Cyril Ladier from Tourlouse. Photo: SI/Müller cabins and 38 stations.

César Dockweiler. Foto: SI/Müller

César Dockweiler. Photo: SI/Müller