Rio de Janeiro’s Transit Solution: Cable Cars Over the Favelas


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Date: 
February 28, 2011
The slums of Rio de Janeiro—the infamous favelas—pile onto and up and over the city’s iconic steep hillsides. Simply getting from point A to point B requires a sub-alphabet of zigzaggery up stairs, over switchbacks, and through alleyways that can be just a few feet wide.

There’s nowhere for public transit to go. Nowhere, that is, but up.

That’s the direction for the newest transportation system in Rio, slated to open in March: a six-station gondola line running above a collection of favelas known as the Complexo do Alemão. The government says that 152 gondolas will carry 30,000 people a day along a 2.1-mile route over the neighborhood, transforming the hour-and-a-half trudge to a nearby commuter rail station into a 16-minute sky ride.