Could Ski Lifts Solve Gridlock?

By Nick Cowen on at

As solutions to congestion and gridlock go, we never thought we'd hear the notion that elevating the commuter class above the traffic would be one being considered. Well, not unless the solution included flying cars – but we're still waiting for those.

In the meantime, Indonesia's attempts to tackle bumper-to-bumper traffic look set to involve ski lifts. Seriously. In news that sounds like something off the set of a new science fiction film from Terry Gilliam, city planners in Bandung have approved Indonesia's first commuter system involving aerial gondolas. They estimate up to 4,800 passengers could be moved between shopping districts in just four minutes – a journey that, thanks to the city's gridlock problem, would normally take them about half an hour by car.

The company developing this transport system, PT Aditya Dharmaputra is optimistic that once it's in place and shown to be a success, it could be expanded to other cities in Indonesia.

“We just need to begin,”  president director Sandjaya Susilo told Bloomberg. “Once people see it, they will say why don’t we use it all over Indonesia?”

If aerial trams above foot and road traffic sound bizarre, it's worth noting that some cities are already using them as a solution for gridlock, such as La Paz in Bolivia and Portland, Oregon in the United States. They're also used right here in London. They're apparently cheaper to build than subterranean rail systems and they cause less pollution too.

The technology is different now, the cabins are big,” Bandung's mayor, Ridwan Kamil, told Bloomberg. “Just take a look at South America, they are now relying on the cable car.”