Posts Tagged: wilkinson eyre



Aerotram (Urban Gondola) in Toulouse, France Selects Architects – Expects to be ready by 2016/2017

Rendering of Universite Paul-Sabatier Station. Image from Midi-Pyrenees.

Exciting news for CPT came out of Toulouse, France last week. Wilkinson Eyre — the team who designed the Emirates Air Line in London — has been chosen as the architects for the city’s urban gondola or “Aerotram” project.

It appears that the proposal has been under investigation since 2009, and the existing alignment calls for a 2.6km line which connects three activity centres:

  1. University Paul Sabatier, 29,000 undergrads and metro station;
  2. CHU Rangueil Hospital, university hospital located Pech David hill (130m a.s.l.);
  3. Oncopole, a 220 hectare site home to a new €1 billion cancer research campus.


Proposed alignment map. Image from Midi Pyrenees.

Proposed alignment satellite. Image from Tisseo.

Approximately €40-44m has been allocated to the project. The modestly sized system of 1500 pphpd is estimated to transport 6000-7000 daily riders. Point to point transport will only take 10 minutes versus 32 minutes via bus and metro. Other key stats include:

  • Cabin size: 35 persons
  • Technology: 3S/TDG
  • Total cabins: 20 (18 during peak)
  • Cabin frequency: 1min 30 secs (peak); 5-7 min (off-peak)
  • Speed: 15km/h

Undoubtedly, if the available renderings were based off of reality, the station and towers will be of the more aesthetically pleasing variety. While the extent of the customization is uncertain at this time, this issue will be of particular interest as previous highly customized urban CPT systems have been subject to significant scope creep (i.e. think Portland and London). The budget of €40-44m will certainly test the abilities of the project team.

Given the language barriers, exactly why 3S/TDG technology was chosen for a 1500 pphpd capacity system is unclear at this time — a MDG system would be able to perform a similar task at a lower price tag. However, among a range of benefits, a 3S line could offer greater reliability since it can operate under higher wind speeds. My suspicion (and I say this through my own personal experiences) is that tricable systems tend to fare better in terms of optics and public acceptance when it comes to implementing CPT systems in the Western world.

I’m certain there may be other reasons and if any of our readers have more details, we’d love to hear from you. Overall, this is appears to be a groundbreaking project as it may be the first 3S CPT system to be fully integrated into a local transit network.




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