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22 February 2023 Comments (0) Architecture, Environment, Mobility, Other, Real Estate, Technology

Téléo: an urban cable car as inspiration for others?

On May 14, the city of Toulouse (France) launched Téléo, its urban cable car. This colossal project, requiring an investment of €82 million, aims to streamline travel between the east and west of the Occitan city.

In Toulouse, the cable car is part of the city’s public transport offer. Téléo is accessible with all local public transport tickets, and costs the same as the bus, metro and tram. This city cable car serves three stops and allows passengers to travel in 10 minutes what is otherwise a 30-minute drive.

At 3 km, it is the longest in France, beating the urban cable car in Brest (Brittany), which opened in 2016. The latter, about 420 metres in length and spanning the Penfeld River, connects the Capucins eco-district to downtown Brest in under three minutes. 

Téléo - Toulouse

Sky high for better air

Téléo has 15 cabins, each accommodating 34 persons, of which 20 seated. The cabins stop systematically, and remain open at slow speed when passing through the station, to allow safe disembarkation and boarding, especially for those with reduced mobility.

Although still uncommon as public transport, the cable car is the safest means of transport in the world. Since the introduction  of the “3S” technology (3 cables: 2 carrier cables + 1 tractor cable), there have been no accidents in more than 20 years of operation anywhere in the world. The all-new Téléo can even keep operating when winds are blowing at more than 100 km/h.

In addition, the cable car makes it possible to effortlessly cross natural or man-made obstacles (rivers, motorways, hills …) and is an ecological means of transport. Fully electric, it emits virtually no CO2 and moves in perfect silence, while relieving congestion on the streets of the city it serves. From an economic perspective, the commissioning of a cable car line is far faster and cheaper than a new metro or tram line (€7.5 million/km compared to €30 million/km).

Inspiration from abroad

The foreign city of Medellín (Colombia) was the first to establish this new way of public transport, as from 2004. Rio de Janeiro, New York and Algiers have already integrated a cable car in their network. In Europe, however, it is still too often confined to tourism. On this continent, the expansion of the urban cable car is currently slowed down… by law. There is a lot of bureaucracy and privacy rights, because urban cable cars inevitably offer a bird’s eye view of many homes,” said Martin Leitner, president of OITAF (International Cable Transport Organisation).

A situation that could soon change! According to the American firm Persistence Market Research, the global cable transport market is expected to reach $4.6 billion by 2024 ($1.9 billion in 2016) with more than a third dedicated to urban passenger transport. Enough to inspire a great many large European cities.

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