Posts Tagged: Calgary Gondola



Gondola Project in The Toronto Star

Dear Torontonians:

You might have seen today in the Toronto Star a story about our work. The story featured an interview with myself, Steven Dale, the Founder of The Gondola Project.

Typically, such press causes The Gondola Project to experience a rather large surge in traffic from whatever given geographic region is discussing the idea. As such: Welcome!

The Gondola Project is an ongoing participatory planning project to help explain and spread the idea of Urban Gondolas and Cable Propelled Transit throughout the world. It is meant to be accessible, user-friendly and informative.

As most of today’s new readers have probably never contemplated the idea of using what is (let’s be honest) ski lift technology as mass public transit, don’t worry – at first it was totally ridiculous to us as well! We get that the idea is foreign, bizarre and strange.

But after exploring The Gondola Project we hope you’ll see that it’s not so strange and bizarre a notion after all. Feel free to comment, ask questions and generally engage us on the topic – that’s what we’re here for.

And please be rest-assured, The Gondola Project doesn’t suggest cable transit, cable cars or urban gondolas are the solution to our collective public transit woes.

Our cities are increasingly complex entities and the more tools we have to tackle coming challenges, the better. We’re not here to say gondolas are the best tool to the exclusion of all others, but we are here to say gondolas are a viable, valuable tool worth exploring.


– Steven Dale

PS: A good place to start with The Gondola Project is in our ABOUT section and our LEARN ABOUT CABLE TRANSIT sections (accessible through our the header bar above).

PPS: To save you the hassle of wading through months of old blog posts, we’ve also hand-selected a group of older posts to get you up-and-running:

PPPS: In order to broaden the scope of the site more, we will often discuss issues peripherally-related to public transit and urban gondolas. To get a feel for those kinds of discussions, we’ve hand-selected a group of older posts that should give you a reasonable understanding of The Gondola Project’s worldview:

  • Forcing Functions – Humans make mistakes constantly. Forcing Functions help prevent those mistakes. What forcing functions do we need to see in transit to make it better for everyone?
  • A Minute Is Not A Minute – Are our transit models undermined by the fact that people perceive time in very different ways?
  • Inflexible Inventory – Everyone wants to travel at the same time in the same direction. Can that problem be solved?
  • Never Mind The Real World – Do our planning models sufficiently take into consideration that which actually occurs in the world, rather than what we hope will occur?
  • Our Outsourced RailsDo North Americans really deserve all the credit for the massive rail projects they’ve built in the past?
  • The Ten Day Traffic Jam – If the Chinese are more willing to sit in a 10 day traffic jam than ride transit, what does that tell us?
  • Canadian Prosciutto – If you don’t believe something to exist, does that mean it doesn’t?


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.