Taking the Cable Car to Work
Cable car in Portugal.
What's the best way to equip a city built on a mountain with decent public transport when the roads start getting clogged up? Try cable cars. Though normally used to provide access to high-altitude tourist attractions and ski spots, the city of Haifa has decided to link itself up vertically with Israel's first public cable car service.Blessed with challenging topography and years of questionable urban planning, Haifa is a city badly in need of creative transportation solutions. Although a BRT system is currently being built to link the city center with its suburbs, the new system will not reach parts of the city built on the Carmel mountain, including numerous neighborhoods and the city's two major universities. And that's where the cable car comes in.
The University of Haifa overlooks the city from its disconnected perch.
Meant to scale 450 meters of altitude, the cable car should make the trip from Haifa's seaport up to its highest mountain peak in about 15 minutes. While cable cars lack the capacity of subways and buses - their actual capacity is roughly equal to a couple of taxis - the city somehow plans to shuttle up to 5 million travelers a year by running the system "like an assembly line," with cars running every 11 seconds.
Will the cable car become the next light rail? The system is scheduled to begin operating in 2010.