Posts Tagged: LT1M wait times



The Potential Perils of LT1M Wait Times

“Five more minutes then I’m hailing a taxi.” Image by flickr user Pim Horvers.

One way to build a successful business is to provide a product, feature or service the market didn’t even know it couldn’t live without. Once the market is exposed to that which it can’t live without, everything that came before it seems lacking and the market is irrevocably disrupted for the better.

The urban gondola feature that has the most potential to cause this kind of disruption (yet receives so little attention) is less-than-one-minute (LT1M) wait times.

It’s odd. Nowadays, wait times are accepted as a given within public transit to such an extent we barely even pay attention to them anymore.

Yes, I’m going to have to wait for my bus or streetcar.

Yes, my streetcar is probably not going to arrive at its scheduled time.

Yes, I’ll be waiting for ten minutes only to have four buses arrive all at one time.

(Note: That last one is such a common occurrence, there’s even a name for it – bunching.)

We barely discuss these things anymore because they are simply a part of the performance-cost package of public transportation. These things are such a given, we don’t even recognize that another way is possible.

Urban gondolas do away with that problem to such a massive degree, one has to ask themselves the following: Once people are exposed to LT1M wait times, how long will they be willing to accept the old model of unreliable schedules and extended wait times offered by standard technologies?

One could even find themselves wondering how to reliably implement LT1M wait times in our standard transit technologies (hint: you currently can’t).

To the cable industry and urban gondola enthusiast this must sound like an excellent opportunity, and it is. But it’s also a situation that’s fraught with peril:

If people begin to demand LT1M across their transit network, we may find transit agencies and planners attempting to implement cable technology in wholly inappropriate ways and locales. That doesn’t help anyone.

Recognizing the possibility that the Cable Propelled Transit’s LT1M wait times could make existing transportation services look inferior (from a wait time perspective), transit agencies may balk at urban gondolas entirely.

The convenience of LT1M could cause riders of other parts of a transit network to shift their usage to an adjacent or nearby urban gondola line. This shift in ridership could potentially overwhelm the urban gondola line, push it over capacity and thereby eliminate all of the convenience LT1M initially provided. It should be noted that this very situation occurred with Medellin’s Linea K.

LT1M wait times represent a massive advantage cable has over every other standard transportation mode and is one that’s unlikely to be matched any time soon.

But unless transit providers, planners and manufacturers recognize the potential problems LT1M could cause – and effectively manage and mitigate those problems – cable transit could find itself a victim of its own success.

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.