Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we building the Capital District Gondola?
Capital District Gondola (CDG) is being developed to provide a new, reliable and efficient transportation option and regional attraction connecting CDTA’s Rensselaer Rail (Amtrak) Station and Downtown Albany for commuters, visitors and tourists.
How will CDG impact the Uber/Lyft market and vice versa?
We anticipate a complimentary relationship between CDG and various ride share options available in our area. The Gondola System will offer a unique, cost-effective modal option for travelers in and around the Capital Region.
What other gondola or related transit projects has Steer been involved with?
Steer (formerly Steer Davies Gleave or SDG) is a highly-respected global consultancy that combines commercial, economic, technical and planning expertise to find powerful answers to complex questions. Working across cities, infrastructure and transportation, Steer has conducted ridership studies and economic analyses for countless transportation projects, including a number of high-profile aerial gondola projects in the United States and abroad. Specifically, the firm’s gondola and other unique modal work includes: Vienna, Austria; the Monte Carlo Cable Car; the Citywide Ferry Study in New York Harbor; the Staten Island Ferry Midtown Service, NYC; and Brooklyn Queens Light Rail along the waterfront in New York City.
What is the methodology and associated models used by SDG to predict ridership and revenues?
SDG developed a ridership estimation model to assess the market potential, number of daily trips and resultant revenues based on information obtained through an on-line stated preference survey. The model was sensitive to factors such as parking availability, cost, trip purpose, customer type, fare and discount type and cost and time of competing modes.
What is the typical induced demand for these types of projects? Other transit systems?
Induced demand, often referred to as the “if you build it, they will come” effect, has been considerable for aerial ropeway systems. Typical induced demand for projects that provide transformational changes to the transport market is 10% and is driven largely by increased tourism.
How will public capital funding now impact the need for future operating subsidies?
The CDG project model demonstrates a financially feasible system based on up to 80% private investment and some portion of the remaining 20% covered by public, government sources. We continue to seek public funding support for capital and/or operating costs.
How is Steer’s track record at predicting ridership and revenues (i.e. what is the average increase/decrease in actual ridership/revenue from projections)?
Steer is a highly experienced and professional global consultancy with an excellent track record for accuracy in its ridership, revenue and economic impact analyses. It is known for a cautious, conservative, data-driven, market-specific approach to the projects it participates in.
How will parking in the urban areas be impacted by CDG rider need?
There will be an estimated net increase in parking demand of approximately 300 vehicles per day in the city of Rensselaer, which can be accommodated by existing parking facilities at the Rensselaer Rail Station. In Albany there is a projected net decrease of about 200 vehicles per day parking in the city as a result of the CDG. These estimated values do not include secondary effects resulting from future development near CDG stations.
Why is there an inactive “turn station” planned for the Liberty Park area of downtown Albany?
CDG initially planned to locate a “Downtown Station” at the 6-acre Liberty Park section of Albany. Working with stakeholders, it was determined that a full-service station in the area requiring the cable and cabins to fly directly overhead could limit development potential and flexibility.
To ensure CDG will enhance and not impede new economic opportunities, the Project Team added nearly $3 million in project cost to amend the original plan and “bend” the cable alignment using a pass-through station. This allows the cable and station to be located within an existing public highway corridor and avoids potential conflicts with new development in the area.
The revised approach also enables a pass-through station to be sited near Liberty Park that can be easily converted to a full-service passenger stop. The transportation benefits of a future Liberty Park Station could be marketed to interested residents and retailers and even serve as a catalyst for a long-discussed intermodal facility in the area.
A full-service downtown Albany terminal station is still planned to be sited adjacent to and connected with the Times Union Center, with direct access to the arena, Empire State Plaza, Albany Capital Center and downtown offices and businesses.
What is the cost of air rights on private parcels?
The cost for CDG to pass above existing private properties will vary based on the value of the property and the extent of area to be crossed.
How do you intend to handle air rights on public ROWs?
CDG will obtain easements from public ROW owners to cross their property.
Are there unresolved ROW issues with New York State, other public owners and/or railroad owners as to ROW?
CDG has had discussions with New York State, involved railroads, private landowners, and other interested parties regarding the project alignment. Easements have not yet been acquired.
Are you hoping to showcase CDG as a calling card to develop systems in other, larger markets?
The purpose of this project is to create a new transportation modal option for commuters, travelers and tourists that serves as a regional connector and helps stimulate economic development in Albany and Rensselaer. The prospect of New York’s Capital Region as home of the first successfully developed and delivered urban gondola system of its type in the United States is indeed exciting, and news of the CDG project has attracted the attention of many other cities in the U.S and beyond.
However, Capital Gondola, LLC remains singularly focused on successfully advancing the Capital District Gondola connecting Albany and Rensselaer.
What happens if the CDG project is unsuccessful and financially unsustainable?
The modular nature of this type of gondola system makes it possible to relocate and repurpose most components at another location. However, rather than dismantling, we believe CDG will take advantage of its system flexibility by ADDING additional alignments, connections, and station locations in the future.