Cable Cars As a New Dimension to Sustainable Urban Development

Cable Cars As a New Dimension to Sustainable Urban Development


Katharina Bernard, Doppelmayr


Cable cars provide an alternative for transport to areas that are difficult to access.


Cities are continually growing and expanding, and information is traveling as fast as ever. With advantages in flexibility, adaptability, and cost, cable transit solutions can dive into the urban market, complementing existing and creating new public transportation networks.

Working at every level, cable transit has the unique ability to utilize and expand upon a city´s natural corridors, built form, and existing transit networks. Careful attention to rider comfort and experience, along with community cooperation, and proven benefits can attract both city and resident support. Flexibility in system components and architecture increases opportunity both aesthetically and spatially, optimizing the system for almost any type of urban situation.

There are numerous examples of urban aerial cable systems in the world today (Algeria, Brazil, Venezuela, UK, Germany among others). The biggest urban cable network has been installed in the last years in La Paz, Bolivia and is continuesly growing. By 2019, 30 kilometer of cable car systems will be installed in the cities of La Paz and El Alto. In the moment, it consists of four independent cable installations, linking the neighboring cities of La Paz and El Alto. As well as significantly relieving road traffic congestion, commuters benefit from the new mode of transport. A trip which takes an hour or more by car is shortened to 10 to 17 minutes by cable car.

The first three lines opened in 2014 and recently had its 75 millionth passenger. According to the online travel web site Trip Advisor, riding on the cable car lines of Mi Teléferico is the number one “must do” in La Paz.

Cable cars provide an alternative for transport to areas that are difficult to access. They allow for the integration of isolated areas in o the urban fabric to make them vibrant and inclusive.Passengers in La Paz who use the Yellow Line save 17 days per year, which they would otherwise have spent stuck in traffic congestion.

Cable cars area sustainable option for urban transport that does not harm the health of a city´s resident. They operate air and noise pollution free. The three lines in La Paz save 8 thousand tos of CO2 emissions a year.

The fares are set at 3 bolivianos (35 euro cents). School children, students, pensioners and people with disabilities travel for half that amount. The response has been highly positive with 100,000 tickets sold during the first weekend of operation. 8.5 million passengers were carried within six months (Linea Roja and Linea Amarilla only). Since the start of operation more than 1 million passengers are transported each month on each line. The cable car is therefore living up to its name and its aspiration: “Mi Teleférico – Uniendo Nuestras Vidas” (“My cable car – connecting our lives”).


Association for European Transport