Boston Gondola Project


Kathryn Chinetti

MAPS: Kathryn

There were three big pieces of our project, the maps, the design of the system and the important questions and answers. In terms of the maps we had a couple of challenges. In addition to replacing part of the green line we decided that we wanted to connect some of the t stops on other lines, so our first problem was deciding what stops needed connecting and how to properly connect them. We decided on several stops as Boston’s “Greatest Hits” which evolved into the “Tourist Line”, a way to connect some of the most popular spots in Boston. We also created the express line, hoping to shorten some people’s commutes by a lot. The next issue was the maps themselves. We were replacing many of the stops on the green line extension and we needed a way to show that they weren’t T stops but they were still on the green line. We decided that the best way to show this was by making the stops on the line black instead of the usual white. We made different maps so it was easy to see from many directions.



In terms of design of the system itself we wanted to do multiple car types. We wanted the normal car (from Kenmore to all the extensions) to be transformer cars, that go from cable cars to trains and back again. We hoped that this would eliminate the need to change trains if you were riding the green line elsewhere. These cars would carry about 60 people. The Express car (from Central to Kenmore and then to MFA) is identical to the commuter car, except that it is not a transformer. The tourist car is much smaller and only holds around 15 people. It has many windows so Boston can always be seen. Kenmore station is the cable car hub and the largest station in our system.There are three different stories in the top of the station one for each of the lines. These are different from the Kenmore stop because they only have one line going into and out of them


PR DATA:  Lizzie


    Lizzie worked on the PR data.  She did all the calculations and figured out how the cable car would run.  She started this process by researching previous cable cars, and gathering information about successful transportation systems.  She also used the MBTA website as a huge resource of information about the Green Line.  Lizzie used this data to compare it to the cable car system.  This helped her improve the system as much as possible.  However, the specific data we needed in order to make the cable car system be more realistic, was sometimes not found anywhere.  During Lizzie's research, she went on the MBTA website to copy down all of the T stops.  With those, she found out the distances between each one, by using the "train" tool on Google Maps.  After this step, she had the majority of the information needed to start calculating the data.  However, she referenced back to some of the sites she used for some more information throughout the project when she needed to.  


    After collecting all the information she could find, she created a spreadsheet to organize all the data.  This then helped her see what was missing and needed to be calculated.  When Lizzie was researching, she found out the speed the cable car realistically could travel at, to ensure a safe ride, yet still beat the Green Line.  The speed is 17mph.  With that statistic, and the distance, she was able to find out how much time it would take to get from stop to stop.  In Lizzie's research, she came up with the time each car would be in the station for (how long people would have for loading and unloading).  Using her research of other cable cars, she came up with a practical solution, which was 2 minutes.  Adding the time between stops with the loading time, she got the time 1 ride 1 way would take.  However this cable car system offers round trip, so Lizzie multiplied that number by two and discovered the time for the whole trip.  The cable car can hold 60 people, given the sturdiness of the design, and the speed of the car.  The cars are also running for 20 hours a day (the same as the green line).  Using both of these pieces of information, she was able to find out how many people were on the cars at one time, how many rides people would take per day, and how many total people could ride on that specific line.  She went through this process for the B line, then the C line, then the D line.  Those were the only lines we replaced of the green line.  An additional part of the spreadsheet she created which was extremely valuable in her work, was discovering the time between each stop that the train would take.  This gave us a better picture of the functionality and efficiency of the Cable Car system.

    In our project, there is also a tourist line that is for exploring Boston.  It takes you to all the local attractions that make the city special.  This line travels the same speed (17 mph) however can only hold 15 people.  The rest of the information for the tourist line is the same as the B, D and C line (like loading time, hours of service etc.) so Lizzie went through the same process of calculations and discovered times between stops, round trip time, total cars, people at one time, rides per day and total people using this line per day.  There are two extensions of the tourist line so she split this information in to two different parts.

(Visualizing the information)-

    Lizzie gathered loads of information, both that she researched and that she calculated, so she thought of ways of conveying the data, in an interesting way.  This lead her to working with Illustrator and Photoshop.  Lizzie created multiple diagrams and graphs showing what she found out.  She made a graph comparing the time on the green line and the time on the cable car.  She made a map of the routes the cable car takes you, and the times between the stops.  She also did some of the rendering and photoshopped our Logo and cable cars into some pictures of boston.  After this phase of visualizing the information, she decided she wanted make it as realistic as possible, so she created a brochure.  This brochure included many of the maps and images of the cable car.  It also included a description of each line and what this new source of transportation was potentially going to offer the people of Boston.  This brochure was extremely helpful in the final presentation because the audience was more interested and had a better picture of this cable car system being put into place.  Overall, Lizzie's process included research and gathering background information, doing many calculations to ultimately make this cable car be able to replace part of the green line, as well as add to it, and finally visualizing it which meant making maps, graphs and diagrams, as well as a brochure.  


Detail: Design of Cars & Towers

Daniel Alper

Daniel took over the designing part of the project. We all wanted the design to be retro-futuristic, sort-of like the 1960’s show “the Jetsons”. We chose to make everything green to clearly show the new green line. Since we made the lines we did, we had to make a Tourist Cable car, a Commuter, and a Connection car. We built two different towers, a large kenmore tower and a tower for the rest of stops.


The Cars were actually much different from eachother. The two busiest lines will use the commuter and connection car, while the Tourist car has much less expected users.They will have to be big, fast, and frequent enough to deal with the large amounts of people. The tourist car will be used mostly for tourists and pleasure, so it will not have to be as large. The Commuter Car is the largest size we designed. It is 30 feet long, and 10 feet wide. The Car has a capacity of 60-70 people(originally we said it could hold 100 people, but there was no way the car could hold that weight). We added a double cable to help support the heavy weight. There are two cable connectors, and one retracting power supply for when on tracks. This power supply goes up and down when told to. The car is able to lower from in the air to the pre-existent tracks. The car has  6 train wheels on each side, that will be used when on tracks. This car also has a bike rack to hold 3 bikes on the back. It folds up and locks bikes secure. The connection car has the same body as the Commuter, but does not have the wheels, train power connection piece, and obviously the wheels were removed. The Tourist car was much different from these commuting cars. It is the smallest cable car,  being 15 feet long, and 10 feet wide. It can hold about 10-15 people at a time. We put windows all around, so the people can see the city below. There are 2 cable supports on the roof, and hold onto one cable.


The Kenmore tower is much larger than the typical tower. The Kenmore tower is almost 160 feet tall and 100 feet wide at the widest point. There are three main floors: a bottom/underground floor, the second floor, and the top floor. The bottom is where the commuter line transforms from cable to tracks. This floor is also where people will get on the elevator to other floors. People get underground by the exterior winding staircase. The second floor is where the purple line comes in, going both north and south. The third floor is for boarding the tourist line. This tower will be placed in the park across from the existing stop. This tower is the main reference point, and is where all lines connect in one tower. The normal cable car stations will be placed at every stop except Kenmore. It is about 100 feet tall, with a large oval shaped top that is 80 feet long. It has two elevators on each side, with a glass protected boarding area on top.


Lizzie Beer

We believe Boston’s current transportation system is noisy, slow, unreliable, and most importantly inefficient.  Our purpose in making “Fly Boston” was to create a solution to the incompetent source of travelling, using cable cars.  We redesigned the Green line, as well as added to it.  What our system ensures, is a fast and smooth ride, that will take you to where you want to go, without making a substantial amount of noise, and causing traffic along the way.  Our cable car system will replace the B C and part of the D line.  It will additionally add a line from Kenmore Station to Central Station on the red line, and a line from Kenmore to the Museum of Fine Arts on the E line (we call those two lines “Kenmore Express”.  The third part of our proposed cable car system is the tourist line.  That connects all of the top tourist attractions.  It starts at Kenmore then, goes to the Boston Common, then the Children’s museum, then the Aquarium, and finally the Science Museum.  

    Each of these lines travel at 17mph.  The B, C and D line, as well as Kenmore express can hold 60 people.  The tourist cable car can hold a maximum of 15 people.  These lines in total can transport up to 100,000 people per day, with 62 stops along the route.  Each line offers the option of round trip, so for each cable, the cars are going back and forth.  There is at least one tower between stations, in most cases two, that propels the cable. When in a station, the car will detach from the cable and wait 2 minutes for people to load and unload.  It then reattaches and matches the line speed.  A car is scheduled to come every 1.5 minutes, to fit everyone’s flexible schedule.  The retro futuristic stations have an elevator up to the top level which is where the cable car comes and leaves from.

    Kenmore station is the hub of the entire system.  Six cable lines are attached, where cars are both going in and coming out.  A huge part of the Kenmore station though is the system that transitions the train into a cable car. With this proposed system, we would be redesigning the train, so it could have the ability to turn into a cable car. This transition takes 5 minutes total, both when a train turns into a cable and when the cable car turns back into the train.  This process is only used for B, C, and D line, because the other three lines did not exist with the Green line in place, therefore there are no trains that would be used for those routes.  

    We designed this cable car system to have the capability to be put in place in boston.  Throughout all of the work we did, we made sure what we were doing, was realistic, and could suffice in the city of Boston.  Designing this sytem would cost 1.2 billion in total.  Fly Boston has the potential to work as the city's primary source of transportation because of it's reliability, efficiency, and flexibility.  

Detail: Maps

Kathryn Chinetti

One of the first things that we decided to do was to pick the stops that we were going to connect. We wanted to eliminate the length of time it took for someone on the  red line to connect to the green line so we added the express line that connects the red line to the green line. We also wanted some of the most popular spots in Boston to be connected via cable car. We hoped that this would alleviate some of the pressure on the T after Red Sox games or other such events. We also hoped to eliminate some  of the confusion that tourists may experience in the T. We chose to include Kenmore, the Boston Common, the Childrens Museum, the Aquarium, and the Museum of Science. These were the most visited places in Boston so we decided to connect  them.

In terms of Map design itself we wanted to make sure that the lines stood out against the already bright colors of the map. We wanted to make sure that the colors stood out against the map, but also made it clear that it was a cable car not a train. We decided to use pink and purple because they were the only colors that weren’t already represented on the T map. The stops themselves we made black because they very clearly show that it is not trains. We wanted to make it clear but also have it fit in with the overall look and theme of the already existing maps.