Crazy Transport Ideas That Might Work: Oxford Street Cable Car

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 46 months ago
Crazy Transport Ideas That Might Work: Oxford Street Cable Car

Photo by Javier Ayala from the Londonist Flickr pool

Oxford Street is gridlocked and polluted as hell (no matter what the Mayor's office might try and insist). Pedestrianisation is often cited as the way beyond the stupid wall of buses and taxis belching diesel fumes and injuring pedestrians, with a recent report from Assembly Member Stephen Knight suggesting a zero emission shuttle bus to get people up and down. A tram is also a regular suggestion. Or how about a fleet of self driving cars?

But what about a cable car? No, wait, bear with us. London's existing dangleway may have become a byword for pointless expense but that's basically because it's in the wrong place. Other cities, however, are making much better use of urban cable cars. Portland, in USA, uses its 'aerial tram' to carry commuters from its heavily redeveloped South Waterfront district to the Oregon Health and Science University. And a recent article in the New Statesman detailed how cities in Africa and South America are looking to ski-lift-style transport to get their populations out of appalling traffic jams.

A cable car down Oxford Street has already been suggested by private developers — it's something that keeps cropping up at Mayor's Question Time. The New Statesman article name-checks Austrian firm Doppelmayr, which built the Emirates Air Line (we have no way of knowing if it's the company that has approached City Hall). It says costs come in at around £5.1m for a 2km line — the length of Oxford Street, according to Google Maps — and the system can carry around 5,000 people an hour in each direction.

Alright, we know it's pie in the (literal) sky, but pedestrianisation schemes involve some kind of ground level transport, which would take up street space and require multiple crossing points. Get the traffic above the ground and we'd have the whole road to ourselves. Plus, it'd be cool.

Last Updated 28 October 2014