Si Urban: Cities are facing diverse challenges. Innovative urban transport solutions are among the top priorities. What is
DOPPELMAYR’s commitment in this field?
Anton Schwendinger: Even though our roots and our priorities are still firmly anchored in alpine regions, the development of urban ropeway systems as well as ropeway solutions to connect popular sights and attractions in urban areas are a significant high-growth market for us. As the global market leader, we are offering a broad spectrum of perfect solutions. Especially in our D-Line that is offering even better safety, comfort and most importantly quiet running, we have a product for sensible urban areas that in more than one way is perfectly suitable as a supplement to existing public transport networks.
Thomas Pichler: Ropeways are generally an ideal addition for densely populated areas. They can cross over obstacles, the infrastructure can be created in a comparatively short time span, and people can reach their destinations quickly and comfortably and without traffic jams. Looking at things from a cost perspective, everything is speaking in favor of ropeway systems as well.
Nevertheless, ropeways cannot be THE solution for all cities. We stand for their application where it makes sense and do not perceive ropeways as the “one and only perfect solution” for all applications.
With D-Line, DOPPELMAYR has developed a new product at the top of the range. What makes this development so strong?
Anton Schwendinger: D-Line is the successful combination of top safety with most enjoyable comfort for guests and finally also receives strength from the important aspect of economic operation. After all, our customers need to be able to run the installation at reasonable costs.
Thomas Pichler: A prominent aspect in all this is reliability. Our customers know that DOPPELMAYR installations work perfectly. We are a reliable partner not only for operations. We stand by our customers all the way from planning to implementation to maintenance. With our quality work, we prevent costly standstills or breakdowns. Our customers greatly appreciate this.
What is the share of urban ropeway systems in your total production?
Anton Schwendinger: Urban transport and ropeways serving attractions currently accounts for about 25 percent of our business with a tendency to go up. For DOPPELMAYR this also means large contracts for projects outside our challenges in the Mountain business. Wherever traffic infrastructures cannot grow as fast as the population, ropeways are a perfect solution. This is particularly true in the topographic environments of South American cities. In La Paz, 75 million people have used the ropeway lines in just three years of operation. And this network is not even fully developed yet.
Thomas Pichler: There is more to it than grand links reducing surface traffic like the ones in La Paz and other urban ropeway systems. For some years now, we have seen a growing demand for ropeways to provide comfortable access to touristic sights and other attractions. Especially in southeastern Asia, there is a growing number of ropeways serving various points of interest. An outstanding example is Vietnam, where we already built three installations with world record features and are completing two more this year.
And how do you perceive the discussions about urban ropeways in Europe?
Thomas Pichler: This still needs a lot more “mission work”. There is a number of very fine projects. Particularly where obstacles need to be overcome, using an aerial cable system is very sensible. It will be vital for a positive development that such ropeways be subsidized as a means of public transport in the same way as all other forms. The benefits are obvious. Take for example the opportunity to power ropeway systems using renewable energy. As a means of public short-distance transport, ropeways are the most sustainable way to move over their entire lifespan. They are the most useful addition to existing networks and they can grow fast if needed. Integration with existing public transport networks adds extra attractiveness to urban cable transport systems.