Urban Cable Car

Nowadays urban cable cars and city ropeways in addition to the traditional means of transport are becoming increasingly important. While doing so they can be found in different applications or types: e.g. as a detachable gondola system in continuous movement operation mode, as an aerial tram in shuttle operation mode, or as a funicular with railway track. We have demonstrated our skills and expertise as an urban cable car consultant, planner, engineer and designer on several feasibility studies, tender specifications, design reviews, supervision assignments, and acceptance & commissioning procedures around the world.

In general, it must be clearly stated that a cable car is not a panacea for urban transport. Ropeways are and remain a niche product in city transport and are only a probate mode of transport for peripheral urban areas with certain topographical and urban planning conditions and the presence of natural barriers (such as rivers). In addition, technological limitations (e.g. limited speed and horizontal curves), traffic-related limitations (e.g. station density), infrastructural requirements (e.g. space for station buildings) and legal frameworks, especially in Europe, often argue against their use in urban areas.

City cable car lines will tend to gain more importance in the future, and the reservations of cable car residents and cable car users will gradually disappear the more urban ropeway projects are realized. Especially in the South American area, these emotional hurdles seem to have been completely overcome, as there have been realized some impressive urban cable car projects.

As a cable car and ropeway planner, you must take a close look at the situation on site as part of a cable car feasibility study and analysis and be very sensitive on the way of working during the cable car planning phase.

Below you can find an excerpt of our urban cable car project references:

Mur Cable Car Graz | Austria

Contract: Feasibility study, planning

Technology: Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD)

Customer: Holding Graz Kommunale Dienstleistungen GmbH

Duration: 2012 – 2013

Description:

An important question in the transport policy in Graz is: How can commuters and day tourists be caught at the outskirts of the city of Graz and brought to the city center by using public passenger transport to reduce the motorized individual traffic in the city?

At commuter peak hours, the main roads to and from the city center are congested or parking spaces are scarce. In addition, Graz has one of the highest fine dust pollutions in Austria due to its basin location.

Due to the existing infrastructure bottlenecks, the expansion of the tram network is difficult or associated with enormous costs and long construction times. Therefore, the city council considers the introduction of a second transportation level. A metro installation is difficult to finance for a city with the size of Graz. Therefore, only the airspace remains.

The exploration phase has shown that a cable car, which runs over the Mur river (which divides the city in east and west), could bring an enormous relief for the city from commuter transport. From a technical and operational point of view only a Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) makes sense for a river cable car running from south to north of the city.

The Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (2 suspension ropes, 1 haul rope) system combines the advantages of circulating ropeways (with continuous conveyors) and aerial tramways (large cabins). Its cost-benefit ratio is unbeatable wherever you must overcome natural barriers such as existing infrastructures, rivers, lakes, hillsides, deep valleys, etc. with a few tower structures.

The proposed city cable car would be a Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) system with a total length of 11 km, a capacity of 3.000 pphpd and 11 stations.

A cable car in the Mur river offers the following advantages:

  • No consideration of the motorized individual traffic necessary
  • No impact of existing infrastructure along the Mur river
  • Environmental impacts are low (no change of the river bank)
  • No resident annoyance due to large safety distances
  • Low construction costs (no guideway structure necessary, only a few towers required)
  • Fast project implementation possible
  • Stations in the city center can be built over the existing bridges
  • Sightseeing effect in city center (hovering over the rooftops of Graz)

Content:

The following work was part of the feasibility study and system planning:

  • Development of a passenger flow and ridership analysis
  • Track alignment and determination of station and tower locations
  • Property demand analysis
  • System calculations and design and definition of system parameters
  • Static rope line calculation
  • System layout plan and longitudinal profile design
  • Drive equipment design
  • Preliminary station design and architectural visualization incl. renderings
  • Conceptual tower design and clearance envelope analysis
  • Vehicle design and renderings
  • Definition of critical issues for project building permits
  • Critical cable car codes & standards analysis
  • Preliminary project schedule
  • Estimation of system investment and operating costs
  • Analysis of the life cycle costs
  • Strategy for integration into the public transport network
  • Development of ticket fare model for the integration into the existing public transport network
  • Development of business plan incl. Public Private Partnership (PPP) financing models
  • Economical profitability calculations (NPV analysis)
  • Execution of a SWOT and cost-benefit analysis
  • Definition of project USPs and indirect profitability

120810_Seilbahn_Graz_final (Copy)Murseilbahn-Streckenführung.jpg (Copy)120815_Graz_Seitenansicht (Copy)120815_Graz_Grundriss mit Dach (Copy)120815_Graz_Grundriss Bahnsteig (Copy)

Station design by Werner Sobek.

Webling Cable Car Graz | Austria

Contract: Feasibility study, planning

Technology: Monocable Gondola Detachable (MGD), Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD)

Customer: Holding Graz Kommunale Dienstleistungen GmbH

Duration: 2013

Description:

The city of Graz examines the construction of several P&R facilities at peripherical commuter catchment areas of the city. In the south of the city, a planned P&R facility shall be connected to the public transport network by extending the existing tram line, but this is prevented by infrastructural, geographical, and technical bottlenecks. Consequently, the connection of the P&R facility and an existing shopping center via a cable car will be investigated and planned. The ropeway planning shall be conducted for a Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD) and Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) system. In a further step, the short P&R gondola could be integrated into the planned Mur river cable car from north to south of the city.

Content:

The following work was part of the feasibility study and planning:

  • Ridership analysis and capacity determination
  • Track alignment and determination of station and tower locations
  • System calculations and design
  • Static rope line calculation
  • Layout plan and longitudinal profile
  • Conceptual station, tower, vehicle, and drive equipment design
  • Impacts on the adjacent tram lines regarding capacity and headway expansion
  • Verification of alternative options e.g. tram extension or bus connection
  • Life cycle cost analysis for the different options (incl. tram and bus adaptations)

Reininghaus Cable Car Graz | Austria

Contract: Feasibility study

Technology: Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD), tram

Kunde: Holding Graz Kommunale Dienstleistungen GmbH

Duration: 2013 – 2014

Description:

The Reininghaus district in the southwest of Graz is being developed. The size of the land is about 50 ha, and in the final expansion stage 20.000 people shall populate it. A lot of attention is given on green living environments and energy optimization. The connection of the district to the public transportation network using smart and modern transport solutions shall be an integral part of the infrastructure project. Thus, the use of green means of transport such as tram and cable car with sufficient passenger capacity shall be investigated.

Content:

The following tasks have been executed as part of the feasibility study:

  • Ridership analysis and capacity determination
  • Examination of various track alignments and station locations for tram and cable car systems
  • Connection to the existing public transport network
  • Evaluation of possible combinations of tram and cable car systems
  • System calculations and design for the various options
  • Preliminary design for station, tower, vehicle, and drive equipment
  • Life cycle cost calculations
  • Value benefit analysis and rating of the various options
  • Development of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) finance models
  • Economic calculations using the Net Present Value (NPV) method
  • Evaluation of expansion options
  • Final recommendation for preferred transport solution (tram line)

„UrbanFit“ TGD cable car

Contract: Research, Development

Technology: Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD)

Customer: In own mission

Duration: 2015 – 2018

Description:

The objective of this development project is to adapt the existing Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) system which in principal is suitable for the use in urban environments to the market requirements of the local passenger transport. Based on the advantages of cableways and funiculars further developments of the TGD technology will be taken into consideration.

A success story for cable cars serving as backbone systems in cities can only be achieved by increasing the availability (20h/7d operation), implementing fully automated operation without any station attendants, increasing the station density but with reasonable travel times, reducing station infrastructure requirements significantly and increasing the flexibility in track alignment.

Zatran has committed itself to present balanced concept solutions for the various Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) components by applying selective development steps.

Content:

The following project requirements result from the target/actual analyzes:

  • Reduction of Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs by applying a fully automated operation without any station staff
  • Handicapped-accessible station design
  • Optimization of station infrastructure requirements (reduction of passenger platform floor area, optimization of acceleration and deceleration conveyor lengths)
  • Energy optimization and. smart grid solutions
  • Enabling of horizontal curves by allowing combinations of fixed and rope-based guideways
  • Higher system speeds by using new station conveyor technologies

City cable car Gothenburg | Sweden

Contract: Consulting, planning, engineering, tender

Technology: Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD)

Customer: Transport planning department of the city (Trafikkontoret)

Duration: 2015 – 2018

Description:

On the 400th anniversary the city of Gothenburg plans to build a cable car over the Göta Älv river. The inhabitants of Gothenburg have been asked to deposit ideas and wishes for the future of their city. This resulted in a concrete working plan for the implementation of various projects until the anniversary celebrations in 2021. Among other things the working paper also contains a cable car.

The north and south of the city are connected via two bridges and the public transport (tram and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)) primarily runs over the eastern bridge. Neither of the two bridges are close to the city center.

The planning area for the planned city cable car is north of the port, not far from the city center of Gothenburg. A total of four cable car stations are planned. The first one is located at the central public transportation hub called Järntorget, the secret main square of the Gothenburg. On the northern riverbank is the district Lindholmen. Lindholmen transforms into a district dominated by research and modern industry. But also, more living space is to be created. Because of the technical college Chalmers, which is in this district, there is a large demand from the students for apartments. In the district Wieselgrensplatsen north of Lindholmen a new public transportation hub for tram, bus and cable car is to be created. The planned mid-station Västra Ramberget is located on the premises of Volvo Trucks, one of the main employers in Sweden.

The proposed cable car between Järntorget and Lindholmen shall be realized in Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) technology to ensure maximum availability and passenger comfort. The large TGD cabins with a capacity of about 30 passengers offer enough space for bicycles, buggies, and wheelchairs. The gondola shall be fully integrated into the public transportation network of Gothenburg.

Zatran is responsible for cable car consulting, planning, and engineering services and acts as a ropeway specialist and expert in all cable car questions for the transport planning department of the city (Trafikkontoret) and the involved parties.

The proposed city cable car would be a Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) system with a total length of 3.1 km, a capacity of 2.000 pphpd and 4 stations.

Content:

The following tasks have been carried out:

  • Track alignment evaluations and optimizations
  • Determination of system specifications and choice of cable car technology
  • General system calculations and determination of system data
  • Execution of static rope line calculations
  • Design of longitudinal profiles and site plans
  • Tower engineering and design
  • Station engineering and design incl. drive equipment, return equipment, conveyor system, rope tensioning system, rope saddles, passenger platform, power distribution system, backup power system, control & communication system
  • Maintenance facility and cabin depot engineering & design
  • Calculation of concrete connection forces for stations and towers
  • Evaluation of possible future line extensions
  • Development of operation & maintenance concept
  • System investment and operation & maintenance cost calculations
  • Life cycle cost analysis
  • Creation of project implementation schedule
  • Development of emergency evacuation strategies
  • System Safety analysis
  • Noise emissions and vibration analysis
  • Preparation of tender documents

News of the traffic department about the planned city cable car in Gothenburg

The rendering above is created by UNStudio and represents UNStudio’s design for the anticipated Gothenburg cable car. zatran GmbH is involved as an independent electromechanical cable car consultant and planner to the project owner Trafikkontoret. The rendering is protected by copyright: ©UNStudio (all rights reserved).

Väsjon-cable car Sollentuna | Sweden

Contract: Consulting, planning

Technology: Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD)

Customer: Municipality of Sollentuna

Duration: 2016 – 2017

Description:

Sollentuna is a fast-growing municipality in Stockholm county with a population figure of 75,000 people.

The challenges indicated in the city’s master plan are: developing the city center, providing space for sport, making nature accessible, meeting climate targets, and reducing noise.

A cable car between Häggvik and Väsjön deemed to fit well with the ambitious ideas of the comprehensive master plan and may contribute to a continuous development of the municipality, particularly around Väsjön, Häggvik and around the cable car line itself.

Special attention is given to develop a cable car route that is adapted to the urban area and the landscape and at the same time can offer efficient public transport between Häggvik and Södersätra with intermediate stations at Edsvik/Rudbeck and Väsjön, increasing both the availability and the number of potential people using public transport.

The proposed city cable car would be a Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD) system with a total length of 3 km, a capacity of 1.800 pphpd and 4 stations.

Content:

The following works were part of the consulting and planning services:

  • Track alignment evaluation and determination of station locations
  • System technology evaluations
  • System calculations and definition of system parameters
  • Static rope line calculation and definition of column locations
  • Site plan and longitudinal profile design
  • Station and maintenance facility design
  • Vehicle design
  • Tower design and clearance envelope analysis
  • Definition of foundation forces for stations and columns
  • Power distribution system design
  • Signaling and communication equipment design
  • Development of operation & maintenance concept
  • Evaluation of system & civil works investment costs and O&M costs
  • Creation of system safety analysis & emergency evacuation concepts


Passenger and freight transport cable car

Contract: Research

Technology: Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD)

Customer: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)

Duration: 2017 – 2019

Description:

The project objective is to identify the potential of a combined freight and passenger cableway as part of an urban transport system. The bundling of freight traffic flows into the city center for the fine distribution with environmentally friendly means of transport (cargo bikes, electric vans, etc.) makes a significant contribution to the reduction of road freight traffic in the city center.

The basics of an additional innovative use of the ropeway infrastructure with modular transport systems will be developed. A combination of passenger and freight transport with Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD) technology represents an innovation leap in city logistics.

It is the first time that a research project identifies potentials for a fully integrated urban freight cable car as part of the “last mile” in parcel, delivery, and freight logistics. This is done by considering a simultaneous use of the cable car system as a fully integrated transport system in the public transportation network. The innovative system solution offers the opportunity to bundle goods for the “last mile” already at the city outskirts, to relieve high traffic areas, to reduce harmful environmental impacts and to generate and use further synergies and effects in the overall system of goods and passenger mobility. The aim is to evaluate displaceable good flows, to record and document system requirements such as transport vehicle sizes, cooling options and degrees of automation. As a basis for the determination of the potentials and their effects on the overall system hubs are designed at the city outskirts, transfer stations for everyday goods and modular transport vehicles are described and designed by their capacitive characteristics and transport speeds. By using simulation models, the goods and passenger potentials are finally determined.

Content:

The following works are part of the funded research project and are partially provided by zatran:

  • Freight mobility analyzes – Requirements for a modular freight transport system for an urban cable car as an integral part of the “last mile”
  • Legal aspects – Establish legal basis and derive any need for action
  • Conception of transport system – conception of a modular transport system and definition of descriptive parameters
  • Determination of freight potential – route planning considering a freight cable car, determination of maximum transport capacities in accordance with passenger potential
  • Operation and financing model – cost calculation including economic efficiency
  • Overall system effects – impacts on the environment and society

Cableway for city train line extension | Germany

Contract: Feasibility study

Technology: Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD)

Customer: Confidential

Duration: 2017

Description:

The feasibility study assesses the extension of an existing suburban railway line to a central public transport hub of the city by means of a cableway based on the analysis of different cable car alignment options.

An important part of the study is the analysis of the possibilities of integrating the cableway into existing public transport structures. At the same time, the study serves to sensitize the customer to future project contents as well as to show the pros and cons of cableways in the context of an urban environment.

The proposed city cableway is a Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD) with a total length of 4.9 km, a capacity of 1,800 pphpd and 4 stations.

Content:

The feasibility study included the following topics:

  • Analysis of the project conditions
  • Cableway integration in the public transport network
  • Determination of user groups
  • General use of cableways in urban areas
  • Legal framework for cableways
  • Investigation and evaluation of alignment options
  • Selection of the preferred cableway lines
  • Selection of cableway technology and calculation of system data
  • Analysis of critical environmental influences
  • Static rope line calculation
  • Creation of site plan and longitudinal profile
  • Development of an operation and maintenance plan
  • Estimation of investment and O&M costs
  • Presentation of a project schedule
  • Architectural station design (rendering)

Urban ropeway as feeder system | Slovakia

Contract: Consulting, planning

Technology: Mono-cable Gondola Detachable (MGD), Tri-cable Gondola Detachable (TGD)

Customer: Confidential

Duration: 2017

Description:

The task is to review and analyze masterplans, studies, plans, design drawings, and economical calculations provided by the customer for the anticipated city ropeway feeder line and deliver findings and a preliminary station concept for an intermediate station. A comprehensive report summarizes all recommendations, conclusions and preliminary designs prepared by zatran.

Content:

The following tasks were conducted by zatran:

  • Ropeway line assessment
  • Ropeway technology choice review
  • Wind analysis and impact
  • Review of investment costs
  • Review of operation and maintenance costs
  • Project profitability analysis
  • Station planning and design