Estimating the Demand of a Cable Car System As Part of Public Transport in Graz

Estimating the Demand of a Cable Car System As Part of Public Transport in Graz


Karl Hofer, Graz University of Technology, Michael Haberl, Graz University of Technology, Martin Fellendorf, Graz University of Technology


The research project “Ropeway” should examine, how and under which circumstances and preconditions an urban cable car along the river Mur in Graz, Austria can make a significant contribution to strengthen multimodal passenger transport.


The public transport networks of many European cities have reached the limit of capacity. This is particularly the case for the city centers. Conventional public transport infrastructure (tram lines, bus lines) can’t be extended there, because of the high building density. An alternative to those systems could be transport systems which use a new transport level. The demand for a subway or a LRT system in cities with a size like the Austrian city of Graz with 280.000 residents is too low, so a cable car would be a possible opportunity.

In the last few years, South American cities like La Paz, Caracas or Rio de Janeiro have built cable cars to improve the less developed public transport network. Especially the topographic surroundings in these cities are ideal conditions for cable cars. European cities like London, Lisbon or Koblenz have built urban cable cars for special events. They are not an integrated part of the public transport network and have only the function to connect the city to an event location. Therefore there are no precise experiences about the possible change of traffic behavior in order of this new transport system in European cities.

The research project “Ropeway” is funded by the Republic of Austria with funds from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). The project examines the demand of an urban cable car along the river Mur as part of the public transport in Graz, based on a transport model. Additional an analysis is processed, whether an urban cable car can make a significant contribution to strengthen multimodal passenger transport.

The transport model of greater Graz, called “GUARD” is based on an analysis of working day traffic. GUARD is using the tour-based demand model VISEM for calculating the traffic demand. Initially, the mobility behavior of the residents will be updated with the data from a mobility study. Currently a Logit utility function is used for mode choice. The used Multinomial Logit approach will be changed to a General Nested Logit approach, because a cable car doesn’t have the same characteristics like a normal public transport mode. It needs an own utility function, because due to the continuous service there is actually no waiting time compared to public transport systems with a coordinated timetable. The data base for calibrating the utility function will be the data from stated response interviews of residents and commuters. Commuters occupy a big amount of the daily traffic volume of Graz with a number of 83.000 every day. The change from car to the cable car at P&R sites at the cable car stations should be an environmental friendly alternative for commuters to get in to the city center. The integration of these P&R sites in the transport model is also a part of the modelling process. An urban cable car could also have a touristic potential. More than 1.000.000 tourists are visiting Graz each year. Therefore it’s planned to create an independent demand model for tourists, which will be based on the results of a tourist survey.

Compared to the cable cars in South American cities, the line management is more complex due to the specification of routing on public property and the natural course of the river. The currently planned route of the cable car has a length of 11.9 km with 12 stations. The possible systems are a 3S Gondola system with a travel speed of 7.5 m/s and a cabin capacity of 35 persons or a detachable gondola lift with a travel speed of 6 m/s and a cabin capacity of maximum 10 persons.

The final paper will include the evaluation of the mobility study, the stated response interviews and the tourist survey as well as the calculated demand of an urban cable car in Graz, for different planning scenarios concerning number and intervals of stations, gondola systems and routes.


Association for European Transport