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Old 12-18-2012, 04:27 PM
 
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From Good.is: Could Gondolas Be Part of the Future of Public Transit?

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As cities grow more crowded, what's the best solution for public transportation? New rail systems are expensive: light rail costs about $35 million per mile, and subways are $400 million per mile. In some cities, dedicated bus lanes make buses a viable option, but in many places narrow city streets don't accommodate buses well. Michael McDaniel, a designer at Frog Design, is proposing a new solution for Austin, Texas: a network of gondolas that run high above the city from neighborhood to neighborhood.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:30 PM
 
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How about *gasp* walking, a mile takes what 15-16 minutes?
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:12 PM
 
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Gondolas make sense, sometimes, if you've got to get up a hill or cross water. The Roosevelt Island Tramway from Midtown Manhattan works very well. There's a gondola from the Portland riverfront up to the Oregon Health Sciences campus, on top of a big hill. In Colombia (Medellin?), they built a gondola from the city center up to a poor, dense neighborhood on the hill, as are common in Latin America. In these situations, creating a right of way is expensive, so the gondola obviates that need.

But if you're talking about relatively flat terrain--most circumstances--there's no need for a gondola, and a train or bus is a more sensible solution.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
How about *gasp* walking, a mile takes what 15-16 minutes?
Right, because no families with little children, elderly or even people with sprained ankles need to get around the city, everyone's a fit 20 year old living in a perfect climate . What a silly comment, time is money and people with busy lives want to get to where they're going as easily as is viable.

Agree that gondola's as public transit are a good idea in specific situations and terrains that warrant them, but they're an add on to a developed public transit system, you can't cheap out and try to use them as the backbone of your network in a normal North American city because they're too slow, have too little capacity, and are too delicate mechanically at that kind of length. For short hops from RT stations up elevated terrain, a river, or chronically congested overpass to a single big transit destination they're ideal.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,184 posts, read 103,165,018 times
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
Right, because no families with little children, elderly or even people with sprained ankles need to get around the city, everyone's a fit 20 year old living in a perfect climate . What a silly comment, time is money and people with busy lives want to get to where they're going as easily as is viable.
The above is a HUGE problem on this forum. There are many 20-30 something males posting here, who can't put themselves into someone else's shoes regarding mobility, safety, etc.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Question is how does a gondola really help those who are either incapable of, or merely too lazy for, walking? It's not a door to door solution, so compared to a bus which costs almost nothing per mile, users will likely face a longer walk. Most gondolas have limited capacity, the highest cap out at around 2,000 passengers an hour in one direction. $3 million per mile also pegs it on the low end of freeway costs per lane mile which can carry around 8-10,000 an hour. They're also slow at around 10-20 mph.

Of course, if one looks at actual costs, it's not so great. Portland's tramway cost $91.2 million per mile to build, 30 times more than this $3 million figure. Compared to Portland's streetcar, it actually costs around five times as much per mile as the streetcar. I guess one advantage is energy efficiency. The Portland streetcar is tremendously inefficient. The average car is 70% more energy efficient than Portland's streetcar, and a Prius is 350% more efficient. That's just average, get more people car pooling and you'd see that go up even more. Contrary to common misconceptions, most transit systems are little more energy efficient than the private automobile. Gondolas, unlike other forms of transit which are little more efficient than the car since they have to run frequently and outside peak hours if anyone is going to use them meaning they most run nearly empty on the whole, are substantial more energy efficient. They have other disadvantages, the biggest of which is speed, cost, and capacity. For example, San Francisco's N-Judah line carries over 40,000 passengers a day. It's beyond packed and express buses have been added at peak hours to alleviate the overcrowding. Carrying 2,000 passengers an hour just simply isn't going to cut it. That's little more than the Nx buses carry.

That's not to say there aren't limited places where gondolas do work. Portland's gondola is quite popular both among the students/faculty who use it for transit as well as tourists. It has nice views. $40 an hour is kind of a steep price for the amusement ticket ride, but the views are very nice.

Last edited by Malloric; 12-19-2012 at 11:49 AM..
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Question is how does a gondola really help those who are either incapable of, or merely too lazy for, walking? It's not a door to door solution, so compared to a bus which costs almost nothing per mile, users will likely face a longer walk. Most gondolas have limited capacity, the highest cap out at around 2,000 passengers an hour in one direction. $3 million per mile also pegs it on the low end of freeway costs per lane mile which can carry around 8-10,000 an hour. They're also slow at around 10-20 mph.

Of course, if one looks at actual costs, it's not so great. Portland's tramway cost $91.2 million per mile to build, 30 times more than this $3 million figure. Compared to Portland's streetcar, it actually costs around five times as much per mile as the streetcar. I guess one advantage is energy efficiency. The Portland streetcar is tremendously inefficient. The average car is 70% more energy efficient than Portland's streetcar, and a Prius is 350% more efficient. That's just average, get more people car pooling and you'd see that go up even more. Contrary to common misconceptions, most transit systems are little more energy efficient than the private automobile. Gondolas, unlike other forms of transit which are little more efficient than the car since they have to run frequently and outside peak hours if anyone is going to use them meaning they most run nearly empty on the whole, are substantial more energy efficient. They have other disadvantages, the biggest of which is speed, cost, and capacity. For example, San Francisco's N-Judah line carries over 40,000 passengers a day. It's beyond packed and express buses have been added at peak hours to alleviate the overcrowding. Carrying 2,000 passengers an hour just simply isn't going to cut it. That's little more than the Nx buses carry.

That's not to say there aren't limited places where gondolas do work. Portland's gondola is quite popular both among the students/faculty who use it for transit as well as tourists. It has nice views. $40 an hour is kind of a steep price for the amusement ticket ride, but the views are very nice.
Which is why so few of these concepts become realities. The value simply isn't compelling outside of very specific circumstances.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:16 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Contrary to common misconceptions, most transit systems are little more energy efficient than the private automobile. .

oh please, not this again. I can't speak to the Portland streetcar, but the lowert energy efficiency of transit is mostly driven by very low volume services - in low density areas, or at very off peak times. Services that are provided mostly to transit captive customers, as a social service rather than as an attempt to reduce energy usage.

if you want to make your city's transit system more efficient the easy way to do it is to eliminate all the most lightly used bus lines. Of course that would leave many poor, elderly, handicapped, young, and documentless with no means to get around.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:12 PM
 
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Just FYI, the rule of thumb is that people are generally willing to walk up to 1/2 mile to a rail station, 1/4 mile to a local bus stop. Clearly in some cases (e.g. BART) people seem to be willing to walk somewhat farther, though a mile is really pushing it--you're into biking territory then. Normally stops along a local bus route would be spaced something like 500-1,300 feet apart, depending on local conditions. Some people of course cannot walk even 1/4 mile--paratransit exists to serve them.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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You do have to look at the transit system as a whole, not just its most heavily accessed routes. I daresay most routes are not running at full capacity at mid-day during the week.
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