City Cable Car Graz

East-West Ropeway Line St. Gallen | Feasibility Study

Department for public transport, Canton of St. Gallen


2020 – 2021

Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD)

Urban Ropeway St. Gallen

Project description

In the context of public transport in the city of St. Gallen, there are many discussions about future visions for suburban railways and buses. The urban public transport network has reached its limits at some neuralgic points, as almost all bus lines have to go through the central railway terminal station.

Consequently, city officials are considering the introduction of so-called hub systems for buses. The basic idea behind this is to have as many bus lines as possible ending at smaller local transport hubs on the outskirts of the city. As a result, the longitudinal axis of the city would require the most efficient means of public transport possible – ideally a tram line with its own Right-Of-Way (ROW) or, alternatively, a cable car system – which would quickly transport passengers from the east and west of the city to the mobility hub of the railway terminal station in the city center.

Between the cities of Gossau and St. Gallen, densely populated areas with residential, commercial and industrial usage exist and are emerging. The transportation access is largely provided by the motorized individual traffic. Public transport is handled by regional and city buses as well as by the suburban railway. The road networks in this area have reached their capacity limits. As a result, road-based public transport suffers from increased congestion. Prioritization of public transport by means of separate bus lanes or improved control of traffic lights is not possible in all areas due to lack of space. The accessibility of the areas by suburban rail is not optimal for two reasons: On the one hand, the stations do not always have close distances to the development areas, and on the other hand, the frequencies are not attractive. It is becoming apparent that this undesirable situation cannot be remedied even in the long term because the necessary infrastructure expansion is expensive.

In the east of St. Gallen, the city has plans to develop the area around the St. Fiden railway station. The transfer conditions between train and bus are insufficient at St. Fiden station today. The transfer distances are long, and the station is only served by sub-lines of the city bus system. In addition, the University of St. Gallen intends to build a new campus at the “Platztor” site.

The objective of the feasibility study is to examine the usefulness of a cable car line for an east-west connection and to evaluate it in comparison with conventional means of transport such as bus and tram. The findings of the study will show whether a cable car should be pursued as a possible means of public transport in the urban area of St. Gallen and whether specific planning should be started.

The feasibility study provided the finding that the expected demand potentials for the forecast year 2040 can also be managed with electrified (multi-)articulated buses. Therefore, the implementation of a backbone system (e.g. tram or cable car) is not mandatory. If, contrary to expectations, bus transport should reach its capacity limits, the focus should be on the introduction of tram lines due to the foreseeable potential for conflict with residents, the limited planning flexibility and the high travel times of a cable car option.

Service description

The following topics were addressed by zatran as part of the feasibility study:

  • Investigation and evaluation of different alignments and station locations
  • Passenger potential analysis and capacity design
  • Selection of cable car technology including system design and calculation of system data
  • Evaluation of the different alignment options
  • Presentation of general conflict potentials for urban cable cars and analysis of codes & standards and legislation
  • Current planning and approval status of ongoing urban cable car projects in Switzerland
  • Elaboration of a site plan for preferred line options incl. analysis of land use
  • Estimation of investment and operating costs for preferred cable car line
  • Qualitative cost-benefit assessment of the preferred cable car line compared to conventional public transport (bus, tram)
  • System recommendation for backbone transport network

Back to project overview