Leitner-Poma is is the world leader in cable transportation systems. They have worked on projects as diverse as ski-lifts, fixed and detachable chairlifts, gondolas, aerial tramways, skyrides and urban transportation in over fifty-four countries. Leitner-Poma has a number of schemes that would be of considerable use for London and in this article LondonUnlocked will examine the MiniMetro project which they have developed.
Leitner-Poma has developed the MiniMetro as an automated people mover which is both compact and environmentally friendly.
The cars in the system are small and thereby impose a very small footprint on the existing landscape, and can be fully integrated with the existing transport system. Cars can travel at street level, underground, or on overhead routeways.
Leitner-Poma's own literature states that:
MiniMetro operates fully automatically with unmanned cars and central monitoring from the control room. Much of the regular maintenance work can be done with the system running. That is one of the keys to low maintenance costs. Transport capacity – and energy consumption – can be adapted to fluctuating demand by adjusting rope speed or the number of cars on the line. The rated line speed of up to 7 m/s is in any case faster than the average speed of trams and buses in the urban environment.
One of the advantages of the MiniMetro system is its minimal environmental impact. Energy consumption is low, and the system is powered by electric motors located in the drive station. The cars run on steel tracks with rubber tires and produce neither noise or vibrations.
It is clear that these factors - low maintenance costs, noise pollution, and energy consumption are major factors when examining a project which could be implemented in our capital.
With safety a key component of the MiniMetro scheme, it is clear that this system could relatively painlessly be integrated into London's existing transport network. It would provide much needed relief for the existing network, extra capacity, and has a small enough footprint that it could be introduced into parts of central London where a tube connection is simply unworkable.
Again, this is another project that LondonUnlocked believes a new mayor should look closely at. London needs greater capacity and this scheme would certainly deliver that.