Plano may become one of the first cities to utilize gondolas in order to combat traffic congestion.
The Plano City Council approved Thursday an application for a gondola system after the Regional Transportation Council for North Texas opened up the application process, WFAA reported.
“It’s something that they’ve already experienced and we’re not the first out of the chute,” Plano City Council Member Rick Grady said at the meeting, per WFAA.
Grady explained that the company behind the gondolas had already installed two such systems, adding, “I felt this looked like a very plausible solution.”
The gondola system is still in the planning stages, and there is no financial commitment from the city of Plano at this time.
The Dallas Express previously reported in November that the Plano City Council was considering the idea of using JPods, similar to a gondola system, to help alleviate traffic.
Grady compared the gondolas to Uber, explaining at the meeting that “if you decide you want to be the only occupant in this, you’re the only occupant.”
The gondolas were created by Swyft Cities, which began at Google in 2019 when Google started looking for a way to connect its various campuses. Different solutions were considered, but nothing solved the problems the company was facing.
“The first proof-of-concept [for the gondolas] exceeded targets for effectiveness, cost, sustainability, and speed-to-market,” the Swyft Cities website explains.
“In 2021, the core team left Google to commercialize this transportation solution as an independent company. … Advanced smart gondola systems provide efficient, comfortable, sustainable mobility for projects ranging from simple to complex. We provide project feasibility, design, and implementation for complete mobility solutions.”
According to the website, the gondola stations function like bus stops. They can be at ground level, elevated, or incorporated alongside the upper levels of a building.
The gondolas will be at the platform waiting for a passenger instead of passengers waiting for the gondolas.
“The vehicle can navigate through turns, serve multiple routes and bypass stops. Passengers cruise along non-stop to their destination,” explains the website.
According to Brian Shewski, Plano’s transportation engineering manager, passengers can use an app to schedule and pay for gondola rides.
Swyft Cities was quick to boast about the decision on Twitter.
“Excited to begin site evaluations to bring Swyft Cities to DFW Metroplex! [Plano] City Council last night approved plans to submit potential site(s) part of [the North Central Texas Council of Governments’] Certification of Emerging & Reliable Transportation Technology program,” the company posted.