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HomeFinlandLahti Mulls Finland's First Aerial Tramway

Lahti Mulls Finland’s First Aerial Tramway

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A Finnish start-up company has formed a partnership with the City of Lahti to test its transport technology.

Finland may soon get its first-ever aerial tramway after the City of Lahti signed a letter of intent with Finnish start-up UDT Technologies, aimed at developing the city’s transport and logistics in innovative ways.

Without yet committing to a deal, the city is investigating whether an aerial tramway could be located on the Lahti campus of LUT university to transport people or goods in capsules.

For its part, UDT Technologies wants to test the aerial tramway technology it has developed. It plans to build a track about 650 metres long between two stations in Lahti, which the capsules could travel between.

“This is a first of its kind and a very attractive target because we can easily start service trials and verify them in a real built environment,” the company’s Director of Innovation Jussi Niemioja said.

If the plan goes ahead, the track could be built along the LUT campus in the Niemi district of the city. In Niemioja’s view, the track could be extended to include a shopping outlet containing a Prisma supermarket, located a few kilometres away.

“If you want to sell a burger, for example, you can send it to the customer at the next station along the line,” he said.

The transporting of goods is one part of an aerial tramway’s financing model, Niemioja noted, but the tramway in Lahti would also be paid for by the users, meaning the companies and passengers benefiting from its use.

The ticket price would be ideally around 1.50 euros, and the city would not have to supplement the tickets, as is the case with bus travel.

Costs could be kept low because there is no driver for the capsules and the tramway does not move if there are no passengers.

Lahti looking for innovative transport solutions

Petri Honkanen, a planning director with the City of Lahti, told Yle that the city is not putting any money into the project, even in the preliminary stage.

“We are looking for technical solutions and are involved in planning implementation solutions in detail, as well as how the track could be located and what kind of solutions could be used, for example in zoning, to implement such an activity,” Honkanen explained.

Although the project may sound overly futuristic or even frivolous, Honkanen said he believes in its potential and added that all opportunities must be considered.

“There is no equivalent model in this form as of yet, but there have been various cable car solutions for a couple of centuries, especially in mountainous areas, so this is not a completely new pattern in terms of technology. It is mainly the scale and the solutions to bring it into such an urban environment that are new. We look forward to seeing what kind of usable solution we can come up with once we’ve gathered some experience,” he said.

Source: Yle News

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