Georgetown Gondola

“This has definitely been the project I’ve had the most fun telling people about. I was a gondola skeptic, but after these analyses, I’m pretty excited about the opportunities: low cost, dedicated right-of-way, high capacity, and short 30-second headways.”

Alex Rixey
Transportation Planner, Fehr & Peers DC

Photo credit: ZGF Architects

We teamed with ZGF Architects on the Georgetown Gondola Feasibility Study funded by the District, Arlington, Georgetown University, Georgetown BID and others. The study concluded that the Georgetown-Rossyln Gondola can serve as an affordable technology to connect activity centers to the regional transit network. It would serve at least 6,500 passengers a day between Georgetown, an area that lacks easy access to the regional Metrorail system, and Rosslyn, VA, an area that has great transit access but poor amenities. Next steps being prioritized by the study’s funders include seeking resources for more detailed environmental and alternatives analysis.

During this study, we applied the regional travel demand model to model the gondola as a heavy rail link; a light rail link; and a BRT link, with various time penalties applied to reflect different transfer distances from the DC Metrorail platform in Rosslyn, VA to the gondola platform. Ridership forecasts were developed by measuring the rate of gondola ridership per (jobs + employed workers) in the 1/4 mile radius around the terminal stations of the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram and the Portland Gondola, as well as looking at daily ridership for comparable international aerial gondola systems, including information on fare, function, and speed.