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Cable cars could reshape urban landscapes

For his thesis at EPFL co-directed by the Laboratory of urban sociology (LASUR) and the Laboratory of urbanism (LAMU), Fernando Simas studied how cable cars could be an appealing transportation option for city commuters, and how they could be incorporated into tomorrow’s urban landscapes. The first part of Simas’ thesis explores how city residents generally use public transportation, in order to determine how urban cable cars could fit into commuters’ existing habits. He studied two regions in particular: Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, and the Lake Geneva region. The second part of Simas’ thesis looked at how effective urban cable cars would be in various urban settings. A handful of Swiss cities, including Sion, Fribourg, Morges, Zurich and Geneva, are considering such plans. Previous EPFL studies found that urban cable cars can be a catalyst for regional development. “Urban cable cars are just one of several transportation options, and city officials should think carefully before making a decision. This option should be considered only if it can bring something to a city that buses and trains can’t,” says Simas.