Urban Ropeways



Urban Ropeways: A tool for intermodal public transport and urban development. 

Not only in developing countries, the way to handle transport and urban development will decide over the future of the cities. If no fast and effective action is taken the cities run a high risk of losing their cultural, economic and socio-economic functions. With their extremely high growth- and motorization rates, and without a coherent strategy of how to control and canalize them, they will become overflowing, uncontrollable, dirty and dangerous mega-metropolitan areas.

The growth of motorized traffic has already arrived at a level that interferes with the function of many cities, rather than promoting it. Nevertheless, according to estimates of growth we are only experiencing the beginning of a long-term trend. The solution of this transport problem will not be a pure question of infrastructure planning and technology, neither in the industrialized nations nor in the developing countries.

The paradigms of urban development must change fundamentally. Nevertheless, the activity of many development agencies and donors still guided by the standards of European or American transport systems and so performs the cities even deeper into the vicious cycle of dependence on motorize traffic.

Put very simply, one could say that more traffic generates more demand for infrastructure, and more infrastructure induces more traffic demand. The cities literally overflow, and the more they do so, the more traffic and the longer trips they produce. The only solution are efficient and intelligent public transport systems Whose implementation needs to be cheaper, faster,  more flexible and more effective than the development of infrastructure for motorized traffic.

In developing countries, especially in Africa, the problems are already severe. In many cities, a complete traffic gridlock is already achieved, and it is functionally .and financially paralyzing their struggling economies.  Unlike in Asia, India and Latin America, Africa’s growth will not decrease, but continue with only slightly reduced rates far beyond 2030.

In summary, the cities have to limit their spatial growth to a minimum and create more density. On this basis, efficient mass transport with its huge capacities may be capable of responding to the accelerated growth. In addition, cities need better and safer conditions for walking and cycling and the transport sector needs to be more formalised.


Urban ropeway systems have always begun to make an important contribution to this absolutely necessary management of urban growth. In many Latin american cities they start forming part of the urban transport systems. Africa is only a step behind, as in Algeria ropeways have had a long history and have developed to be highly efficient feeder systems to mass transit modes. kIn sub saharan Africa several cities are planning or even building ropeway systems.
Ropeways have shown a huge potential, still largely unknown and unconsidered by most urban planners and transport-strategists, which Eurist has recognised and discussed in various papers, conference contributions, publications and articles, in order to rise awareness for this transport mode and start a scientific backstopping activity urgently needed in order to enhance this potential. A selection of articles can be the found below.


Trialog: Zeitschrift für das Planen und Bauen in der Dritten Welt; Issue 110 3/2011-2012
Urban Ropeways as Part of Sustainable Urban Transport Networks in Developing Countries, Joachim Bergerhoff, Jürgen Perschon

Journeys: Publications of the Singapore Government Land transport Authority, 2013
The Role of Ropeways to Reshape Urban Mobility in Developing Countries, Joachim BergerhoffJürgen Perschon

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