Has Urban Gondola Technology Finally Gone Mainstream?

Post by Gondola Project

In the last fifteen years, over fifty urban ropeways (recreational and mass transit) have been built. Systems pictured (from left to right, top to bottom) are the Metrocable Line J, Metrocable Line K, Roosevelt Island Tram, Portland Aerial Tram, Ankara Cable Car, Mi Teleferico Yellow Line, Koblenz Cable Car, Emirates Air Line Cable Car and Gaia Cable Car.

By and large for the past quarter century, urban gondolas have been considered a fringe transport technology in the minds of many North American transit professionals. Over this past decade however, attitudes over its application in the urban environment have shifted dramatically and it seems that the tides are finally turning.

Last week for instance, the mayor of Los Angeles committed publicly to building a Dodgers Stadium gondola by 2022 and this week, the Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board (ETSAB), admitted in a seemingly reluctant fashion that, “It [cable transport] actually is a valid mass transit option.”

If that wasn’t enough positive news, the Toronto Star reported two days ago that the Burnaby Mountain Gondola (first proposed in 2009) will be subject to detailed analysis as part of TransLink’s Phase 2 plan. Basically, what this means is that a mayor, a transit advisory committee and a major transit agency all within a single week — in North America — came out in support of urban gondolas! Needless to say, that’s not an insignificant event in the world of cable transport.

Essentially with these new projects, we’ve been able to track over two hundred urban ropeways proposals worldwide — and from our estimates, there are nearly forty public transport gondolas which are currently operational (i.e. Metrocable Line J, Red Line Mi Teleferico, Ankara Cable Car and etc).

In fact, this number increases to nearly a hundred systems if you include urban ropeways built for recreational purposes (i.e. Emirates Air Lines, Ngong Ping 360, Singapore Cable Car and etc). All of these systems can be viewed in the map below.

With the immense successes seen throughout the globe, especially in Latin American cities, it appears that the few remaining cynical transport planners have little ammunition to support their biases against cable cars. Gut-based arguments that ropeways are too slow, too dangerous and too unworldly have largely fallen by the wayside.

After all, it’s hard to argue that gondolas aren’t a serious form of mass transit when they consistently operate with reliability levels of more than 99%, transport commuters in more than a dozen countries, and can function as the rapid transit backbone of an entire city.

Of course, while we believe Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) can offer solutions to urban transport challenges, it is important to reiterate that ropeway technology is not a silver bullet. City planners must simply be cognizant that it is merely one tool in their toolbox that they can use to address contemporary transport problems.

As gondolas find growing acceptance in the transit planning circles, let us know what your thoughts are on these major events taking place in the world of urban ropeways.


Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.


  1. Unfortunately they are slow and have low capacity.
  2. Average gondola speeds are competitive with average speeds of all other transit vehicles. Max speeds are irrelevant. The average speed (less terminal time) is what really matters to passengers. As for capacity — what are you comparing that too? It's true that a gondola won't hit the capacities of subways are large-scale BRT systems, but they're more-than-competitive with other medium capacity systems like LRT, streetcars and buses.
  3. Add WDW to the list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_Skyliner
  4. Do you have any information about Mcleong Ganj-Dharamshala rope road. About a year ago there was information about Belarus company who wanted to construst there "string" road. But it seems that TATA building rope road there now.
  5. Gondola Project
    Hi Andrey - last we heard was that it received environmental clearance last year.

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