Return to List

Aug 30, 2022
System Dossier


Post by gondola-project

The Portland Aerial Tram is one of the best-designed CPT systems in the world.

Its shiny, metallic, pill-shaped cabins float gracefully across the Rose City skyline, transporting medical staff, patients and sightseers from the South Waterfront district to the Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) atop Marquam Hill.

The 1km aerial journey takes less than 4 minutes, saving commuters from the hassle and inconvenience of a circuitous bus route. OHSU personnel and transit pass holders ride free but a round-trip ticket for sightseers seeking sky-high views is a very affordable $4.35.

Its jigback cable system has won many design awards, but also caused more than its fair share of controversies, including signficant “scope creep”, privacy issues and, interestingly, aesthetics. (Such is the reality of urban design. One person’s “award-winning vision” is another’s “ugly”.) These days, those initial challenges are largely forgotten and residents beneath the CPT co-exist peacefully with it. In fact, many home sellers tout their property’s “prime location next to an aerial transit line”.

The lower Tram station is a great example of a multi-modal transit hub, with great access to streetcars, buses and bike racks. This precedent-setting level of integration has contributed to its success and more than ~1.4 million passengers ride the system each year.

System Statistics:

Length (km)1.0
Year Opened2007
Ridership (yearly)~1,400,000
Trip Time3-4 minutes
Maximum Speed (m/s)10


Image credits: CC BY-SA 2.0, by Doug Kerr


You may also like