PwC analysis: cable cars as a valid alternative in urban traffic

PwC analysis: cable cars as a valid alternative in urban traffic

PwC analysis cable cars as a valid alternative in urban

Düsseldorf (ots) – PwC examined the traffic, technical and economic potential of cable cars in urban areas / cable cars are eligible / comparatively low costs for investment, operation and maintenance / cable cars are very safe and eco-friendly – citizens, on the other hand, are often skeptics

Traffic jams and heavy passenger traffic, exhaust emissions and noise pollution are part of everyday life, especially in big cities. One of the most important alternatives, local public transport, is reaching its capacity limits in many places. Therefore, innovative solutions are needed. This includes cable cars. And they can also complement public transport in Europe and Germany in the future as an eco-friendly and cost-effective means of transport – especially as the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) has included cable cars as an eligible part of public transport since 2020. study “Urban cable cars in public transport. Innovative, sustainable – and a sensible solution?” Auditing and consulting firm PwC Germany describes the potential benefits of cable cars as a means of transport and from a technical and economic point of view.

Transport with tradition – and many advantages

Cable cars are a means of transport with a long tradition: baskets attached to ropes have helped people cross rivers and canyons since the 15th century. In the 20th century, cable cars were primarily a tourist attraction before being used increasingly as a means of urban transport at the turn of the millennium, especially in metropolitan areas of South America and Asia. Now, urban planners are increasingly focusing on them as they offer numerous technical and economic advantages over other modes of transport. This is particularly true of aerial cableways or cable cars compared to funiculars, which are more similar to cog railways.

Maximilian Rohs, Senior Manager of Infrastructure and Mobility at PwC Germany, says: “The cable cars have a high maximum frequency, the probability of accidents is very low, which makes them a very punctual means of transport.” Cable cars carry around 6,000 passengers per hour. This is roughly the equivalent of a subway. In contrast, trams can transport around 2,000 to 3,000 people per hour and buses 600 to 1,000.

Investment costs are relatively low

Cable cars, however, are quite slow and therefore not very suitable for longer distances. Furthermore, they are quite weather dependent and, for example, cannot be operated or can only be operated to a limited extent in high winds. “Its biggest advantage is certainly the low cost of construction. Tunnels and bridges are not necessary – and of course they offer an attractive driving experience,” says PwC traffic expert Maximilian Rohs. In addition to the cable system and the type of drive, the central technical feature is the size of the cabin and its capacity for between 6 and 200 people. In order to sensibly complement public transport with cable cars, passengers must be able to take bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs with them.

In addition to the mentioned advantages, the financing guideline mentioned above makes the cable car economically attractive. For example, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia supports investment up to 90%. The cost of cable car systems per kilometer is around 10 to 20 million euros – about the same as trams. As there is no need for warehouse and signaling and traffic control technology, the overall investment costs are low compared to means of transport. Another advantage: although cable cars require a planning approval procedure, their construction time is short, only 12 to 18 months. Subway projects, for example, are usually not completed until five to ten years.

Operation and maintenance are cheap

The economic advantages of cable cars are even greater when it comes to operating costs. Maximilian Rohs knows: “Both personnel costs and energy costs are lower than with all other systems. This is mainly due to the high degree of automation. People just need to monitor the operation.”

And cable cars consume relatively little energy: an average of just 5.8 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 passenger-kilometers; on the subway is

11.6 kWh, more than double for trams with 12.5 kWh. As the ropeways have few wearing parts, maintenance costs are also low. “However, if individual components need maintenance, operators often have to temporarily shut down the entire system,” highlights PwC expert Maximilian Rohs.

Safe and environmentally friendly – but also viable?

Safety and environmental aspects also speak in favor of cable cars. For example, trams have an accident for every 225,000 kilometers in operation and buses for every 616,000 kilometers. In the case of cable cars, the probability of accidents is significantly lower – statistically, an accident only happens after around 17 million kilometers of operation! Maximilian Rohs of PwC adds: “The cable car systems are very climate-friendly, they hardly pollute the environment. And they take up little space and are very quiet – which also has a positive effect on the environmental balance.”

There are now several cable car projects across Europe, with planning and implementation at different stages of progress. Projects in Koblenz (in use, so far without collective bargaining integration), in Bonn (in planning), in Stuttgart (pilot route in planning) as well as considerations in Berlin and Cologne should be mentioned as examples for Germany. “Whether cable cars are the preferred means of transport, despite all the advantages, it can only be answered on a case-by-case basis,” comments PwC expert Maximilian Rohs. “Citizens sometimes reject these projects, also because cable cars change the city’s landscape quite significantly.” Last but not least, it can be very interesting for logistics companies if railways are used to transport people and goods.

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Study: Urban Cable Cars

Questions and contact:

Martin Krause
PwC Communications
Phone: +49 (0) 211 981 – 1657
Email: [email protected]