All aboard: sustainable transport solutions

Advanced cable car technology is providing dramatic new angles for passengers and transport providers all over the world. takes a closer look

Cities all over the world are investing heavily in infrastructure that will help accommodate growing urban populations while offering sustainable solutions for the future. In recent times, there has been a rise in the popularity of cable cars as an alternative transport solution. 

Dubai’s Emirates airline brought a breath of fresh air to the UK capital with its innovative low emission cable car that opened in time for this summer’s Olympics. The Emirates-sponsored cable car link which crosses the central landmark of the River will continue to offer Londoners a groundbreaking commuting choice long into the future.

“This is a stunning addition to London's transport network, providing a much needed new connection across the Thames,” commented Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. The cabins provide 360-degree views taking in key areas of London including the financial hubs of the City and Canary Wharf, historic Greenwich, and the Olympic Park.

And London’s skyline isn’t the only one blazing trails. The hilly terrain of many South American cities marks them out as perfect territory for trialling new public transport on high wires. Launched in 2010, a cable car link that connects central Medellin in Colombia with the city’s slum areas has helped the city to leap forward in its roadmap to regeneration. Stretching from the slum of Alemão to the city centre, Rio de Janeiro was hot on the heels of its Latin neighbour’s example last year when it launched its cable car, a showcase for green transport. Here, each of the 152 cars – capable of transporting 10 passengers – has a solar panel generating enough energy to ensure the whole 3.5 km system is self-sufficient.

Last year innovative engineering launched a new cable car ride across the Swiss Alps. Passengers riding to the top of the 1,900-metre Mount Stanserhorn with the wind in their hair, the blue sky above them and a 360° panorama is enough to impress anyone. “Our vision was to enhance the experience during the journey,” says Jürg Balsiger, director of the Stanserhorn Railway Company. “We wanted to offer the guests a new dimension.”

The so-called “CabriO” cable car is the world’s first cable car with a roofless upper deck. The comfortable double-decker is the very latest in cable car technology and encompasses a car that moves on two side-mounted support cables – a technological innovation of Garaventa AG, a central Swiss cable car company. The lower level of the car is designed with wall-to-wall windows and has space for 60 people. From there, an elegant staircase leads up to the sun deck, which has room for about 30 people.