80 Percent Favor Urban Cable Cars

In Latin America, cable cars are a standard feature in local transit systems. Metropolises such as La Paz, Medellin and Mexico City leverage its advantages to alleviate gridlock: no traffic jams, virtually no emissions, low noise and relatively low costs. In Germany, citizen objections are still a common reason why alternative modes of transport like cable cars come in the picture. Drees & Sommer SE, an international planning and consulting company recently conducted a survey to find out why the reasons for objections and how acceptance of cable cars can be increased.

To obtain a reliable profile of attitudes, a representative sample of over 180 persons between the ages of 18 and 80 residing in the Stuttgart region were surveyed in May 2019. The key findings: with respect to major German cities, the great majority – 83 percent – viewed the deployment of cable cars positively, particularly when it comes to linking remote city districts. There was also widespread recognition of the advantages: 42 percent are convinced that cable cars improve public transport overall. More than half consider them easy to use when correspondingly integrated in the fare system. An equal number believe that cable cars relieve heavily congested traffic routes and 44 percent are convinced that their use reduces CO2 emissions.

From Crazy Idea to Realistic Alternative

The critical attitude of urban policy makers has changed as the traffic situation has become increasingly severe in so many places. Cable cars save commuters a lot of time. They cut down on travelling time; reduce on-road congestions; are extremely environmentally friendly; they can be constructed in a short time and are much less expensive to build than subways or suburban railways. A cable car link can also enhance the development of districts that have not previously been connected to public transport. Cable cars are not suitable for longer journeys, but only for distances up to eight kilometers. At 20 to 25 kilometers per hour, they are not exactly speedy but they nonetheless get users to their destination more quickly than a personal vehicle during peak traffic hours.

To date, there is no lighthouse project in Germany for a cable car integrated in local transport that can offer guidance and inspiration to cities, towns and municipalities. Drees & Sommer is currently conducting a feasibility study for the town of Leonberg, near Stuttgart. The key components of this study include an analysis of the town’s needs, integration of the cable car in the existing urban transport system and specific proposals for routes, pylons and stops. It also examines such issues as construction and operating costs and possible subsidies. The results for Leonberg are expected to be released by the end of the year.