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Urban Ski-lift Mass-Transit

Metropolitan public transport, by ski-lift
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Ski-lift technology is old hat now and have been used in a limited way in a number of cities, usually to get from ground level to something fairly high up. What I'm proposing has two important differences from the standard ski-lift:

1) Multiple stops. Normally ski-lifts are point-to-point transport. However, for a mass transit system you need multiple stops on the same line. So the ski-lift would have one driving cable with the ability to grip and release this cable to start and stop the lift, and two guide cables which would support the lift's weight. The ski-lift would grip these cables when stationary. Very similar to the San Francisco cable cars, but up in the air...

2) Long horizontal sections. Very tall towers would suspend the ski-lift as it travelled across the city, travelling for miles horizontally, maybe climbing and descending to get over tall buildings. Termini for the ski-lifts could even be at the tops of tall buildings. Imagine commuting to work in London or New York, skimming across the tops of the buildings, travelling high above roads and pollution - much nicer than underground trains.
hippo, Apr 03 2001

(?) Ski-lift http://www.doppelma...dm_get/index_e.html
Here's a nice example. Can carry between 12 and 200 people at up to 12 m/s [hippo, Apr 03 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Aerobus http://www.aerobus....erobusframeset.html
(link added for [Autonome]'s annotation) [hippo, Sep 01 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

UofW transport page http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/
All kinds of great trans. ideas + links [Autonome, Sep 03 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

[link]






       would the cars be more than 2-per? Efficiency would seem to demand something more akin to a ski-bus. Engineering such a car with connected segments that wouldn't play hell with the expanses of cable would be difficult, methinks.
absterge, Apr 03 2001
  

       [absterge] Yup. I was thinking of the pods that can hold 10-30 people (depending on size) rather than the seats, which only hold about 2-4 people.
hippo, Apr 03 2001
  

       In someways this is just monorail with wire but you are quite correct the views would be very attractive.
Aristotle, Apr 03 2001
  

       UnaBubba, there is a research project ongoing in the UK at the moment involving some huge number of schoolkids - they drop buttered toast 20 times a day and the stats are collated...... No-one's suggested strapping the toast to the back of a cat yet though.   

       Wouldn't there be a strong consumer demand for two-person cars? or would that breach public decency laws?
lewisgirl, Apr 03 2001
  

       wkd
edski, Apr 03 2001
  

       "whacked"? "wicked"?
absterge, Apr 03 2001
  

       Baked, if you consider amusement park rides baked. Cedar Point in Ohio has something aptly named the Sky Ride. Little 4-6 person gondolas will glide you from one end of the fair way to the other. Problem is that they have to stop it during any weather that isn't perfectly sunny and calm.
centauri, Apr 03 2001
  

       Amusement park rides! Why didn't I think of that? Potentially more halfbaked than this idea would be to implement a rollercoaster as a mass-transit system. No more boring commuting...
And while we're at it, turn those subway trains into Ghost Trains...
hippo, Apr 04 2001
  

       Oh Baby! Now you're talking! hippo HAS DIBS on a rollercoaster commute in my book... That would RULE.
thumbwax, Apr 04 2001
  

       Missed. Tchah! - you don't look at Halfbakery for a couple of hours and a whole load of stuff happens...
hippo, Apr 04 2001
  

       This idea has been around, like you said, since the 70's. http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/aerobus.htm
kingpin, Jan 23 2002
  

       Nice, [kingpin] - I'd like to commute in one of those. It doesn't look quite as exciting at a genuine ski-lift, more like an upside-down monorail, but pretty good anyway. (Note: to add links, use the 'link' button under the idea's text)
hippo, Jan 23 2002
  

       Hippo-   

       Not only are you so dead on with your idea, it's such a fantastic idea that it was actually already done very succesfully and is being actively and fruitlessly promoted for use by the SUV driving addicted American swine/public. check http://www.aerobus.com.   

       It originated in Germany, and it's by far the least expensive and easiest mass transit system to implement. Also one of the best looking. The cable tracks are hardly noticable compared to mono-rails and such, and tracks can literally be swung over the top of skycrapers or open water with ease- and cheaply. No bridges to build ever. The only "disadvantage" is a current operational top speed of 50mph, but that is huge considering straight shots through downtowns or over water.
Autonome, Aug 31 2002
  

       Thanks [Autonome], that's almost exactly what I meant - I've added the Aerobus link to the links list. I wish we had those in London.
hippo, Sep 01 2002
  

       Sure Hippo-   

       I should send along another link- http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/ in case you don't have it. Great info about all kinds of systems old and new. You know, mass transit shouldn't _have_ to be such an expensive and controversial undertaking. We have some brilliantly simple, affordable, easily implemented ideas out there.
Autonome, Sep 02 2002
  

       Great one, [hippo]. I had this idea about a year ago and am not surprised to find it already halfbaked (for several years by the time I thought of it). I like your original idea better than the Aerobus, as you wouldn't have to wait for a bus to come - just hop on.
Worldgineer, Oct 23 2004
  
      
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