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Urban gondola idea takes flight

Transportation board votes to fund study of plan for aerial public transit

A plan to consider installing an ariel gondola route through the center of Austin just got a little more traction. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board voted Wednesday to approve a stipend to study the plan, according to Caleb Pritchard, who reported the story in both the Austin Monitor and The Austin Chronicle.

Pritchard's Chronicle story reports that the board approved a nine-week, $15,750 study—with costs to be shared equally among the authority, the city of Austin, and Capital Metro—to examine "Wire One," a plan proposed and long advocated by designer Jared Ficklin.

FIcklin's plan would would create a system to carry passengers over eight miles through the central city, from the UT campus through South Austin to Slaughter Lane and back; the route would have 19 stations, with 10-person gondolas departing and arriving frequently for 19 hours of the day.

Ficklin has estimated that Wire One could serve 4.87 million passengers per year, or 13,342 per day, and eliminate the No. 10 Capital Metro bus route.

The Texas A&M Trans­portation Institute will be tasked with determining if Ficklin's math estimated cost for the project, which ranges from $287 million to $555 million, is accurate, according to Pritchard's Chronicle story, as well as examine urban gondola systems in other countries.

CTRMA board gives the go-ahead to gondola study [Austin Monitor]

Gondolas to the Rescue? [The Austin Chronicle]

Aerial gondolas floated as local transportation solution [Curbed Austin]