City cable cars can speed commuters & connect communities
Cable cars are cheaper to install than tram systems and can move up to 10,000 people an hour. No global city can afford to ignore the potential for including them in the mix
Marcus Liddell the Information Daily Global Cities Correspondent takes a look at just how important cable cars are going to be in dealing with congestion in mega cities and the isolation of some poor communities.
Cable cars have been around for a long time, but the idea that they can form part of an city's integrated mass transport system is relatively new. Cable transit is especially suitable for connecting poor slum neighbourhoods as "many informal settlements" are on steep hillsides. Rio de Janeiro is about to open its second cable car route. Its first line opened in 2011 and is capable of carrying 3,000 passengers per hour. The Metrocable in Medellin, Columbia opened its first line in 2006, serving the impoverished neighbourhood of Santo Domingo.
Michael McDaniel, senior designer at Frog Design, has been publically advocating a cable transit system for Austin, Texas. According to his figures, a cable car costs just $3m-$12m per mile. This compares $35m per mile for trams, $132m per mile for elevated light rail, and $400m per mile for underground rail. McDaniel is also excited by the capacity of cable transit. His proposed system would be capable of moving 10,000 people per hour, the equivalent of 200 buses.