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Germany to study future cableways

In the Colombian city of Medellin, the Metrocable system connects elevated communities with the city centre. Five lines are currently operational, with a sixth under construction. Image courtesy of E. Jiménez

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has commissioned consultant Drees & Sommer SE and the Institute of Transportation Research Stuttgart (VWI) to report on the urban and transport planning integration of cable transport projects.

Stuttgart is considering a cableway link between Autobahnkreuz Stuttgart and Vaihingen/Möhringen, and the study of similar systems in the cities of Medellín, La Paz, New York, Portland, Algiers, Lisbon, Brest, Bolzano, London and Ankara is an element of the joint study.

In its analysis of these eight cities, the project team will focus on the planning process, integration into the urban context and links with the wider public transport network.

Stefan Tritschler from VWI said: “Traffic congestion, air pollution, traffic noise, excess use of land and traffic accidents force us to reduce the existing traffic burden. Cable transport systems are largely independent from other modes of transport, they are technically sophisticated and produce hardly any local pollutant emissions. Above all, they are quieter, safe, efficient and can be implemented in a relatively short time.”

Apart from the suspended lines in mountain regions, Germany’s only cableways are in Berlin, Köln (Cologne) and Koblenz, all constructed for the Bundesgartenschau (National Garden Show) exhibitions. The joint working group is to carry out workshops in several German cities as part of its work to compile the guidelines; its report is due to be presented in two years.

Koblenz is one example of how popular an urban cable car can be. Built for the 2011 Bundesgartenschau, the city’s cable car was supposed to be dismantled shortly thereafter, but a citizen initiative dedicated itself to its preservation.

Urban cable cars are attracting the attention of other European cites. In Wien (Vienna) a proposal to establish the Central European University in the Otto Wagner area (curently served by bus lines 47A and 48A) has prompted plans for a cable car connection to both Hütteldorf and Ottakring Stadtbahn stations. However according to the Technical University the number of students
would not justify the EUR55-70m construction cost. A feasibility study is planned.