Process: Station and Tower Design

Max Ingersoll



Max took on the challenge of designing and 3-D modeling the stations and support towers. He thought of many concepts for the stations and ended up deciding on an hourglass shape for the station design. First he sketched out and created a concept floor plan for the stations using Rhinoceros (“Rhino” is a 3-D modelling software). His next step was to take that floor plan give it realistic dimensions. He carefully thought out how large each aspect of the floor plan should be. Max’s next step was to 3-D model the station, he did this in mainly three steps: 1) He laid the plan for the second floor the right distance over the first floor. 2) He then proceeded to loft the two floors together and finished the shape of the building. 3) Lastly he extruded the individual parts of his plan.


His next task was to design the support towers for the cable car. Max was inspired by the design of the support towers for the Emirates Airline (also known as the Thames Cable Car) in London. In this design the support towers are an elegantly twisted combining trusses and curved surfaces that are both light and strong. Max sketched out ideas for the support towers and decided on an idea which looks slightly like a T in order to match the projects name. Max then 3-D modeled the tower.

Max’s final task was to render the station and towers and place them into an image of where they would go if built. He rendered them with Toucan, the built in rendering system for Rhino. Next he found a picture of the Waterfront in Boston which he photoshopped the rendering of the station over.

Process: Logistics

Isabella Julian


Isabella took on the challenge of finding all the essential information for AIR T. Isabella started by looking at past cable car projects as important case studies in order for her to assemble the information for AIR T. Her next step was to create a spreadsheet for AIR T that would contain all of the relevant information such as cost, number of cars in the system, speed of the cars, capacity, and frequency of cars at the stations. Isabella estimated the numbers by taking the information she had found in her research on existing cable car systems, and then plugging the numbers into equations that one of her coaches helped her create. Using this information, a graph was created that placed the timing of the AIR T cable car in comparison to the rush hour timings on a Tuesday and Saturday.


Isabella created many prototypes of the logo on Illustrator and conducted a survey to determine the best logo. This resulted in the name “AIR T” with colors of the boston strong theme.


After Isabella did this she started to assemble all the information from our group and created a board with all the essential information. When planning the board Isabella had to take into account that she needed to have the maps, three renders of the stations, towers, cable cars, the description of the project, and a graph with the time comparison data and the logo.

Process: Map Design

Matthias Stamm

I volunteered to be the head designer of the maps we would propose for our cable system. Printing maps were my main priority at the beginning of the studio. The maps were then printed and sketches were then drawn onto the maps to potentially be the AirT maps in the future. I kept designing and prototyping and came to a conclusion on a very average and basic map. I soon realized that the maps would not work it would need to be changed. The map that I had in my head was very detailed geographical map of the T lines. Rowan helped me out then printed out one of these maps. On the map I marked out the rough sketch of what stops we would use and the paths they would take, which on the map is marked in orange.

We were then asked to come up with an idea of replacing the green line completely which was tough. Figuring out which stops should be kept in and out were an issue but the path was drawn out in green. Then in blue sharpie, I marked down the almost final draft of the map. An issue came up when this happened. A mile of cabling and machinery would cost several million dollars so the map had to be revised. It was challenging trying to determine exactly where it should go. Should it be a closed loop connecting all of the lines? Would it be better only if it connected the green line together? I then thought about it a little and consulted with my group and we came up with the joint idea of having a loop connect all of the lines together with small segments outside of the main city.

Once the design was chosen, the bare geographical map was loaded into Adobe Illustrator. The group kept consulting on different designs and colors for the map and decided that the final map would have eight stops connecting the green line to the red line and even the blue line. Furthermore, two more maps were thrown through this process. One of the maps was a up close and personal view of the streets of boston and the specific streets and areas the stations for the cable carts would go. The last map that was created showed a rough estimate of where the cable cart towers would go along these routes. Trying to get more into detail, a zoomed in view of where the stations would go was then made. This was done by finding the original T stops in boston using google maps, then finding areas with large enough space to hold one of the stations. Even on top of that, the stations had to be within walking distance of the original T stations so that transferring would not be an issue. Moving onto helping out the PR group, they needed some images of these cable cars in boston. This posed an issue due to the fact that we needed pictures around where the stations would go and needed these to be the same quality as other pictures going to be photoshopped together. After a bit of searching, two photos were found that could be morphed together. This picture involved having cable cars flying overhead of Boston. The process to making this picture began with the first picture being the background and cutting out everything that would be conflicting with the other picture. Once this was done, the other picture was simply added behind this picture making the effect that Boston actually had a cable car system!

The second picture easily took the victory of being the most challenging. This picture was an inside view of a cable car looking out into Boston. It was made similarly to the first picture but needed more precise editing due to it having people on the inside of it. When it was finished being edited, it came out personally as the best picture that was made. By the end of all these being formed it was end of the two week studio.

Detail: Operations Study

Isabella Julian

Calculations: Time between stations, time around, operation hours, people per car, trips per car per day,people per car per day, number of cars, people per day, rush hour on the (T) at eight am on tuesday and saturday tweleve pm. 

Time between stations: Our first step was to convert eighteen mph to 18 mpm. We did this by putting 18 miles over 60 minutes, then taking one of each of the distances over 18miles and 60 minutes, then timing the distance and the 18 miles by 60.Leavining us to divide the distance divided by 18. We did this for each distance to find the time between each station. 

Time around: The time around all the stations we found out to be 1 hour. We found this by first adding all the times between the stations, then we encounted for 3 minutes for people to get on plus having eight stations. So therefore we times 8 by 3 and then added that to the total minutes between each. And we got 51 minutes. We say an hour to encount for transfering and other problems. 

Operation Hours:  I looked at the timing of the t station and I also looked at the NYC capable car and saw what there operation hours were and made times based off of theres. Which ended up being sun-thurs (6am-3am) and friday- saturday (6am- 3:45am).

People per car: We have not finalized this number but we came up with the number 50 people. We made this educated decesion by looking at past gondolas. However we are still doing research. 

Trips per car per day: We took the hours of operations which was 21 all together then times it by 1.So the trips per car per day would be 21.

People per car per day: We took the people per car (x) the trip per car per day and got the result of 1050.Which means that 1,050 people are on the capable car per day.

Number of cars: Since we want the cars to come continuously we thought 34 cars would be enough. However this number is not finallized either, because it might be a possibility that we could have more. 

People per day: To find how many people would or could ride the car a day we took the people per car per day (x) number of cars. Which gave the result of 35700 people per day. 

Rush hour 12pm: To find the amount of time it takes during rush hour on a saturday at 12 in the afternnoon. I did this by going to the MBTA website and typed in each station to find how many minutes it takes to get from each. 

Rush hour 8am tuesday: I did the same process for the other mbta time. 

--This showed the difference of the length of time on a capable car vs the T rail. 


Isabella Julian

“Air Boston” was an urban design studio with the challenge of improving Boston’s Rapid Transit (MBTA) Green Line by augmenting it with a cable car system. Isabella, Matt, and Max worked as a team and began by assessing the key problems with the Green Line, which runs above ground for a significant portion of its four routes. A key cause of its congestion and inefficiency is because the MBTA (“T”) system, and in particular the Green Line,  requires it's passengers to go all the way inbound to the center of Boston in order to transfer to other lines. Furthermore, the Green Line is often slow and unreliable because of above-ground traffic and frequent break-downs due to weather conditions and the aging rolling stock.

Our approach to this challenge is creating a cable car network that connects all the current lines in a ring formation, making it possible to transfer among the different lines outside of the center. This way it is significantly less expensive than replacing the entire Green Line. For the next several days, the team researched existing cable car systems. From their research, the team decided to use a gondola system rather than a tricable or reversible system, because gondolas are generally smaller, cheaper, and detachable, which would allow for more cars running at greater frequency, to keep a constant flow and alleviate congestion.

Once they had planned the general configuration of their new “Air T” system, each team member took on a specific job. Isabella took on logistics— how many cars, how many people per car, and costing. She gathered and organized data on capacity, costs and time savings, prototyped a logo design, and laid out an informational poster.

Matt was in charge of maps—where the stations would be located and the design of the final T map. Matt figured out which current T stops on each line would be most appropriate to locate the new Air T stops. He created a map using Illustrator, overlaying the new Air T ring onto the existing T map.

Max took on the design and 3-D modelling of the stations and support towers. He chose an hourglass shape for the station design and created a floor plan and 3-D model using Rhinoceros (“Rhino” is a 3-D modelling software). His inspiration for the towers was the Emirates Air Line (also known as the Thames Cable Car) in London, in which the support towers are an elegant twisted design combining trusses and curvilinear surfaces that are both light and strong. Max rendered the station and tower design in V-Ray (a rendering software) but encountered some problems which made the renders low quality.