The Future of Transit: Gondolas

The Gondola Project is all about bringing fast and cheap public transit to cities by using (what else?) gondolas! Some people may think that gondolas are only for ski resorts or tourists but there’s a lot of growing interest around the world in using gondolas as an alternative to light rail and to get public transit to place it otherwise can’t get to.

There are many advantages of using gondolas from the small footprint (you can run them down the medians of highways) to their ability to cover vertical distance easily. Even the very flat city of London has a suspended cable car system under construction!

Here’s a video called “Aerial Ropeway Transit: Exploring its Potential for Makkah”:

U of T Research Contributing to Makkah’s Transportation Development from Colin Anderson on Vimeo.

The Toronto Star recently ran an article on exploring gondolas in Toronto and how other cities are exploring the idea.

A gondola doesn’t offer the same capacity as a subway but it could move 5,000 to 6,000 passengers an hour, “which is good compared to a streetcar line,” said Shalaby.

The Queen streetcar line carries about 1,800 people per hour at its busiest point in the morning peak, according to the TTC. That’s compared with about 30,000 on the Yonge subway, 2,100 on the Spadina streetcar and 200 to 300 on a neighbourhood bus route.

Meantime, Vancouver is releasing a business case in January for a gondola that would transport commuters up Burnaby Mountain to Simon Fraser University and a nearby residential development.

“Because it’s on top of a mountain, it gets snow before ground level. Right now we serve the university with very large articulated buses that have to go up and down that hill. There are 10 to 15 days a year they can’t make it to campus because road conditions are so poor,” said Ken Hardie, spokesman for TransLink.

Read the rest of the article.

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