Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Are Gondolas The New Subway Of Public Transportation?

When I say transit, what comes to mind? Riding the bus, a trolley or a light rail system? Well a new mode of transit is gaining popularity nationally, and many say it's cheaper, cleaner and quicker to build than subways and light rail.

What is it? It's not a bird or a plane, but a gondola up there in the sky. A gondola?? Yeah, essentially heavy-duty ski lifts. A number of jurisdictions around the world have started using them for public transit or are looking to do so, including in Germany, Quebec, Saudi Arabia, London, Venezuela, Colombia, Nigeria, and Algeria.

Here's an article from 'The Star' in Toronto about a professor there, a transportation engineer, who says trams are worth another look.

Here's his video "Aerial Ropeway Transit: Exploring its Potential for Makkah."

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


Charles said...

During Expo 74 they had gondolas that crossed from near the Hilton Hotel to the far west side near where the gondola over the falls starts. It was much faster than walking once you got on the gondola, but the lines to get on were pretty long. They did have very small open gondolas. Would it work? Maybe, and help get some transit off of the streets.

SRTC Staff said...

Thanks for the memory @Charles! That's really cool. Maybe a gondola up to the lower north side? Or Gonzaga? Maybe to part of the south hill? Could be cool and cut down on emissions. I'll pitch this at a meeting and see who laughs :)

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.