argodesign’s Urban Gondola Concept Gains Ground
Austin is notorious for its traffic — up there with the likes of L.A. and New York as the most congested metros. With a predicted 30 percent population increase by 2025, the problem is only expected to get worse.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board voted to fund a portion of a $15,000 viability study for an 8-mile “urban cable” line that would run along the city’s busy South First Street. Called “Wire One,” the latest proposal was rendered by technologist and designer Jared Ficklin of argodesign. He envisions the system as carrying passengers in air-conditioned cars for local trips to the supermarket, a bar, nearby offices, or to campus with wait times less than a minute. Ficklin said, “If you can capture all of those micro-trips in the air, then you create capacity for commuters traveling from greater distances on the ground. We’d be adding supply at a constant speed that doesn’t stop traffic.”
Wire One could hold as many as 6,000 passengers per hour and could be completed for a fraction of the price of a light rail. If there’s still political support after the proposal, a costlier more in-depth proposal could be in the works.