Mobility provides large social, economic, and environmental benefits in addition to promoting accessibility for all. As many countries including India are working to improve smart mobility and sustainable transportation systems, the ropeway transit system (RTS) has established itself as an environmentally, socially, and economically efficient mode of public transportation. The use of RTS as a public transportation system in urban environments is yet to be extensively explored. The issues associated with transportation, such as traffic congestion and air quality degradation, are exacerbated in high-density population areas such as the country’s major metros. It is necessary to review current transportation in the country and highlight the potential for using this mode of transportation to alleviate traffic congestion in cities.
If urban sustainability levels are to be induced and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in urban areas are to be minimized, the transition to sustainable mobility, which prioritizes non-motorized transportation, is critical. This change can be accomplished by integrating steps that allow the reduction of total transport volume and the transition from motorized to non-motorized modes of transportation (pedestrianism and cycling), as well as the provision of mass public transportation. Despite the fact that cycling is widely recognised as a viable mode of sustainable transportation in India, it is nevertheless often regarded as a recreational activity. Alternative propulsion forms such as electricity, renewable energy-based fuel, biogas-powered vehicles, and aerial ropeways, which have recently placed themselves on the mass transport scene, are among the pathways to sustainable mobility.
The RTS was initially used in ski resorts, and then in more rugged terrain where conventional transit was difficult to implement. They are also used for recreational purposes. Ski Lift in Auli, India by DRIL is alongside the longest ski slope in the world. The ski lift takes the patrons further up the slope. The combination of the chairlift, ski lift and the exquisite beauty of Auli is indeed a paradise for tourists. Ropeways are used for all forms of natural obstacles, such as rivers, lakes, ports, and railways, as well as urban obstacles, such as in densely populated areas, since they were originally designed for rough terrain. As a result, they’ve recently been used as public transportation networks. While ropeway systems are more common in developed countries, there are projects in developing countries such as India that have already proven their effectiveness in reducing traffic and improving connectivity in informal and most difficult settlements.
Ropeways are simple to incorporate into an established transportation system. Terminals should be located near bus stations and taxi lanes to allow for quick interchanges. In high-density and high-occupancy areas, the introduction of terminals into urban areas may be limited due to the amount of space available. The amount of space needed to construct the terminal is determined by the level at which passengers reach the station.
RTS stations can be found next to congested suburbs, high-rise towers, industrial centers, parks, or on hills all over the world. The station may also be used in conjunction with existing public transportation or pedestrian bridges.
The demand for transportation systems will eventually increase as the economy grows. This is especially evident in Indian metros, where demand for mobility has outstripped the public transportation system’s ability. Initially, privately operated and shared taxis filled the void. But as the population grows, over population has become a concern. Air quality has also deteriorated to dangerous levels, especially in India’s metros, which consistently rank among the most polluted each year.
From now on, ropeways in India will come under the ambit of the Ministry of Roads, Transportation, and Highways. The change is expected to improve the sector by establishing a regulatory framework and making it easier for new technology and research to enter the sector. To make this possible, the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 has been notified. Last-mile access for remote areas, reducing congestion on main roads, the opportunity to build world-class ropeway infrastructure, and the introduction of new technologies are all potential benefits of this measure.
Indian companies like DRIL who have experience of over 4 decades, far more than any international company in the same business, has executed exceptional projects in India and abroad including Ethiopia, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh amongst others. They have developed ropeways for a long time that have proven to be secure and efficient. Ropeways by DRIL are Made-in-India and operate on the latest technology.
The need is to address the ropeway industry and bring in necessary changes that can help the operators contribute towards mobility solutions for fellow countrymen. The most common demand from domestic ropeway operators is regarding the GST on ropeways; it currently stands at 18 per cent, which is higher than that on air travel and acts as a significant deterrent. Ropeways serve people from all walks of life and should be treated the same, and should be taxed at par with other tourism or transport segments such as railway fares.
The piece is authored by Aditya Chamaria, Managing Director, DRIL