Freedom of movement

The functions of a cableway

Multimodality, i.e. utilization of an optimal combination of various means of transport, is characteristic of modern urban transport networks. Thanks to their specific features, cable-drawn systems are especially well-suited to fulfil transport functions, being far superior to other means of transport in this regard. Circulating cableways’ special qualities are best suited to routes of up to ten kilometers and for a flow of up to 5,000 passengers per hour per direction.

With transfer stations, as here in La Paz, urban cableways create new transport networks.

With modern systems, the direction can even be changed and entire cableway networks, where one can change from one line to another, built by adding intermediate stations. Depending on the required transport capacity, financial framework and topographic challenges, mono- or multiple- cable circulating cableways can be used.

To transport 10,000 passengers per hour (5,000 per direction), one needs:

Reversible aerial tramways, on the other hand, are particularly well-suited for extreme terrains or where there are high requirements for availability, wind-stability or operating safety; for example, reversible aerial tramways are used to traverse rivers, bays or ravines or transfer visitors to look-out spots, castles or city hills.

Urban cableways can assume many functions in the area of local public transport. Photos: DOPPELMAYR


In addition to aerial cableways (circulating or reversible), Automated People Movers (APM) and funiculars are utilized in urban environments. They use their own lanes independent of the regular traffic level and their routing is very flexible. However, for short routes between 20 and 400 meters, inclined elevators are the best solution. In cities, cableways can take on various functions as part of local public transport.

Filling In Gaps

Cableways are especially well-suited to fill the gaps between traffic-generating locations such as hospitals or industrial zones and other, remotely situated, infrastructure. They supplement the existing network and upgrade the entire system as a “connecting link”.


Cableways connect locations that belong together, yet are situated far away from one another, e.g. campus, factory or exhibition grounds. As car park shuttles, they also link car parks with buildings. Conventional means of transport, such as shuttle buses, are often too expensive and require a high number of staff.


Cableways traverse obstacles that either cannot be overcome at all by conventional means of local public transport (train, subway, tram and bus lines) or only at great expense. In addition to topographic obstacles such as mountains or rivers, they can also overcome dividing traffic infrastructure such as railway lines or highways to achieve a necessary extension of the network.

Building New Transport Networks

In urban spaces without a sufficient transport infrastructure, new transport networks are built by interconnecting several cableway lines.


Cableways represent a practical way to extend the existing local public transport network routes.


Where traditional means of transport and the existing infrastructure reach their limits, cableways can relieve traffic congestion areas. Conclusion: Urban cableways truly offer a lot of “freedom of movement”. ts