Residential Concerns



Privacy and Gondolas – Morizo and Kiccoro Gondolas – Aichi, Japan – Expo 2005

The privacy issue is widely seen as an obstacle (and a legitimate one at that) for gondola installations in urban areas, especially given their proximity to people’s homes. In the past, here at the Gondola Project, we’ve discussed several solutions.

One of the more innovative approaches — the “Smart Glass” technology on the Bukit Panjang LRT (Singapore)involves installing windows with a type of glass that turn opaque when the train travels beside adjacent residential buildings.

We figured that this could be great in a gondola, someone should do it. Why don’t they?! Well, as it turns out, they do!

The Morizo gondola, built for the 2005 Expo in Aichi, Japan utilizes  Smart Glass technology. The glass in the cabins turns opaque for two minutes (source 1, source 2, source 3 [Japanese]) as the systems travels over homes.

Expo 2005 Transport Map - Note: There are 2 gondola lines - 1) Morizo Gondola (Dark Green Line) runs NE and 2) Kiccoro Gondola (Light Green) runs NS

Here is the gondola system. Some nice tower designs but nothing incredibly special.

Gondola at Expo 2005 - Aichi, Japan. Image by Flickr User OPRAHHATPARTY

Until we found this… video proof of the smart glass in action!


The video is only 6 seconds but nonetheless demonstrates that many of the privacy concerns created by gondola installations can be addressed with just a bit of creative thinking.

While this may not be the ideal solution for every CPT system, the Morizo Gondola certainly demonstrates the possibilities. This may be an incredibly useful example to cite when discussing topics as sensitive as privacy.

Also: here’s another super cool video (skip to 50 seconds mark) that illustrates how a true multi-modal transport system would look like if gondolas were added to the mixture. If Google Translate is accurate, this is a video of the Limino Maglev Line that was built specifically for the Expo 2005.


For more photos of this system, please check out our Flickr galleries of the Morizo and Kiccoro gondola system.

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The Dubrovnik Cable Car

The Dubrovnik Cable Car. Image by flickr user Michael_Spencer.

It’s generally accepted that Urban Gondolas and Cable Cars don’t exist in high-density, residential areas. Generally, that is.

That’s likely the reason people have such an adverse reaction when proposals bubble up to the surface for systems flying over residential areas. Look at Portland or Burnaby, for example.  How Urban Gondolas and Cable Cars interact with urban form and fabric should therefore be of the utmost concern when planning a line.

At the same time, we’re also beginning to discover more and more systems that – while touristic in nature – interact with the urban form in such a way that they appear to be less detrimental to residential areas that we originally thought (the Bolzano 3S or Pilatusbahn, for example).

Along that line of thinking comes a link from Bob . . .

Bob points us in the direction of the Dubrovnik Cable Car in Croatia. This modest and newly refurbished Aerial Tram opened just last year. It’s only 778 meters in length and can only transport 470 pphpd, but the way it engages with the surrounding urban environment suggests systems like this may be more acceptable in the future.

If nothing else, notice the use of orange in the cabins that reflect and remind one of the orange clay roofs so characteristic of Dubrovnik. Sometimes small, subtle touches like this make all the difference in the world.

It would be fascinating to know the planning process that underpinned this system. How was it originally proposed? Were people against it? Were they for it? What was the impact on surrounding property values? All these would be valuable questions to answer. So if any readers out there have any answers, we’d love to hear them in the comments.

In the meantime, take a look:

Just a quick note: Thanks so much to Bob for the link! More and more we’re relying on the collective intelligence and resourcefulness of our community to spot interesting developments and projects that have a direct impact on the urban environment. So like Bob and the others that came before him, if you know of a Cable Propelled Transit system we should look at, please send us an email or a link at gondola (at) creative urbanprojects (dot) com. We can’t do this all by ourselves, after all. 

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.