Posts Tagged: Minivan



Urban Gondola Transit as Minivan?

Advancements in 3S and MDG technology have largely eliminated the need for Funitel and BDG technologies. If you’re considering a Funitel, you might as well go with a 3S. The 3S is faster, with higher potential capacity and reasonably similar capital costs. A 3S also doesn’t incur the high energy consumption cost that’s typical of the Funitel technology.

Similarly, the BDG’s only real advantage over the MDG is a moderately higher maximum speed (27 km/hr versus 22 km/hr), without any real capacity or wind stability improvements. Not surprisingly, however, the BDG has a higher capital and O&M cost than the MDG. If you’re considering the BDG, you’re therefore likely to opt for the MDG in the end.

That leaves us with a low-end market technology (the MDG) and a high-end market technology (the 3S). But what about the middle-market?

The curious thing about markets like Burnaby Mountain and Calgary are that the environmental conditions there are such that the wind stability offered by the 3S make it the logical choice.

However when you look at the capacity, speed and cost factors in both those situations, an MDG would suffice fine. Both cities would be more than content with an MDG system were it not for the needed wind stability. In fact, wind stability is the only reason for either of these cities to actually opt for the 3S. Is that worth the extra cost?

Let’s be clear, cost is a major impediment to implementation. At a price point of 2-3 times that of an MDG, it becomes much harder for a city to justify implementing a 3S over a more standard transit technology. However, with a wind stability threshold 30% lower than a 3S, it becomes impossible for many cities to implement an MDG.

See the problem?

You may not need all the bells and whistles of a 3S, but the one bell-and-whistle you do need (wind stability) the MDG doesn’t possess. You therefore must opt for the 3S.

So here’s the challenge and opportunity for the industry: Design a technology priced somewhere between an MDG and 3S system (in both capital and O&M costs) that offers the capacity and speed of an MDG but the wind stability of a 3S.

Think of it as the Minivan of cable transit:

"Seating for eight people at the price of a family-sized sedan? No way!"

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