Calgary Gondola



Media Reaction to Calgary Gondola

Urban gondolas are gaining traction in Calgary, Canada. Image by Flickr user stephenccwu.

Yesterday, in collaboration with Centre City Talk, Steven Dale gave an presentation on urban gondolas and their applicability in Calgary, Canada. Steven was interviewed by CBC’s Dan Irvine on Calgary Eyeopener. If you’re interested in listening to the podcast and hear what Steven had to say, please click here (Urban gondola discussion starts at 15:08).

After the interview, CUP was featured on several major news publications. The following list is a compilation of some of the media’s reaction to the CPT (Cable Propelled Transit) idea:

Urban gondola news clip starts at 2:41.


As part of our journey to educate people about cable technology, if you have some time and see any misconceptions about urban gondolas in the comments section, we’d love to have to you pitch in and help correct any misunderstandings!


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.



World Class Alpine Resorts Near City = Urban Gondolas?

Since the Gondola Project’s inception two years ago, reception (for the most part) has been overwhelmingly positive with interest in gondola transit rising dramatically. (Thanks again everyone! Keep the emails/comments coming!).

Peak 2 Peak - Whister. Image by Flickr User roaming-the-planet.

While there’s more work to be done, we’ve managed to successfully help bridge the knowledge gap between the institutions of city/transportation planning and urban gondolas.

If we just look within the Great White North alone, half of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, are in or reported to be in the preliminary stages of planning a gondola system. That’s Vancouver (Burnaby), Calgary and Montreal (Laval).

Rendering of Laval CPT. Image via City of Laval.

In my opinion, this accomplishment is incredible. Two years ago, as compared to today, CPT was a fringe, misunderstood and relatively obscure technology in the North American transit world. Not so much anymore.

But this leads me to ask: What’s the biggest Canadian city that’s currently suffering from the worst congestion but yet to even remotely contemplate CPT?

You guessed it – Toronto.

While lampooning public transit in Hogtown is a favourite pastime amongst Torontonians, I do think they are doing great things in the city (i.e. Spadina Subway Extension, Eglinton Crosstown LRT etc.).

So instead of hating on the city that I love, I asked: Why is cable being implemented in other Canadian cities but not in Toronto?

As I’m currently preparing to go skiing in Whistler this week, I’ve had an epiphany. There’s a crucial factor existent in Vancouver (Burnaby), Calgary and Montreal (Laval) that’s missing in Toronto.

Can you guys think of it?

Can't wait to hit the slopes! Whistler, British Columbia. Image by Flickr User jsigharas.

World-class ski resorts!

Let’s see: Calgary has Lake Louise; Vancouver has Whistler and Montreal has Mont Tremblant.

And Toronto has Blue Moun… nevermind.

I’m sure there’s more to this revelation than alpine facilities, but it’s probably the most straightforward answer. In fact, this surprising fact may not be surprising at all.

Civil Engineers/part-time cable aficionados in the 1980’s, Bondada and Neumann, already found that planners more familiar with cable technology were more likely to rate it higher on a scale of 1 to 10. The question, then, is if mere familiarity with the technology in a ski resort setting is enough to cause planners to consider the technology more seriously. Bondada and Neumann, unfortunately, never addressed that question.

Anyways . . .  happy skiing everyone!

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.



Win Some, Lose Some: Media Response To Urban Gondolas In Calgary

Considering how nascent the idea of urban gondola transit in Calgary is, it’s incredible to see how the media has pounced on it – and in some situations gotten the story completely wrong.

More than likely, the media attention has been little more than a light-hearted distraction from the more serious business of Canada’s Federal election and the death of Osama Bin Laden, both of which having dominated Canadian news for the last few days.

But whether the interest is genuine, or just a time-filler, it’s important for the media to report responsibly and accurately on the story. And – as always when dealing with responsible reporting in the media – you win some and you lose some.

First the good. Check out Bindu Suri’s report with Global News Calgary:


This is a responsible report. It doesn’t pass judgement, gets the facts right, remains fairly objective and lays out the particulars:

  • It’s an idea other cities have successfully implemented.
  • The idea is in the early stages.
  • Images of systems comparable to what’s being discussed in Calgary (such as Medellin and Koblenz) are given.
  • A brief mention of the fact that Aerial Trams are different than gondolas.

Now let’s contrast Ms. Suri’s report with that of Kevin Rich’s at CTV Calgary. (Unfortunately, CTV does not allow their videos to be embedded on outside sites, as such, you’ll have to click through to view the report.)

  • The idea is referred to as a “gondola balloon.”
  • It’s reported that myself, Steven Dale, is the initiator of the project – which is completely and utterly incorrect. I’ve given a few talks on the subject in Calgary, but that’s about the extent of it. It’s remarkable that Kevin Rich gets this aspect of the story so wrong, considering he interviewed me for the story last night.
  • The report confuses Aerial Trams with Gondolas – witness the very first image of the Roosevelt Island Tram while the reporter says “they’re called urban gondolas.” Also strange, considering I made the distinction perfectly clear during my conversation with Kevin Rich during our interview.
  • Rather than having images of actual urban gondolas throughout the world, the report relies on conceptual images of funitels and out-dated and laughably inaccurate images of the Aerobus. (Note: the image is so out-dated, I can’t even figure out where they got the image from). This implants an idea about the topic in the viewers head that is completely counter to the idea in play.
  • And lastly: While it’s important to have a differing opinion on the topic, urban planner Bryan Romanesky’s concern about the system being too static and a lack of ability to “move it somewhere else” is completely off-base for two reasons: Firstly, with the exception of buses all transit is basically static and unmovable. And secondly, as we’ve seen with the gondola systems in Rostock and Munich, gondolas can be relocated to other places.

Nothing wrong with healthy, dissenting and skeptical debate about any and all ideas. It’s important, however, that the media provides enough accurate information to allow those debates to occur.

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.