Aerial Tramway • Airtram Roosevelt Island
With the installation of this ultra-modern aerial tramway, POMA has provided New Yorkers with the most advanced technology in urban ropeway transportation. It is 960 m long and connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan in just three minutes, passing over the East River in great comfort with unique views of New York through the huge windows on both cabins.
In 2008, New York City commissioned POMA to develop its new aerial tramway to connect Roosevelt Island to Manhattan over 960 metres.
The technological solutions used by POMA in this very dense urban environment provide an optimal service, with 99.8% availability, 20 hours a day.
To satisfy safety requirements and service optimisation needs, POMA developed two unique technological innovations.
The innovative “reversible” system developed for the AirTram allows the cabins to operate on two independent lines with two separate motors.
In addition, wide-track carriages ensure high cabin stability and enable a high travelling speed (30 km/h), whatever the weather, even in extreme conditions.
The New York Aerial Tramway transports millions of people a year over the East River, in great comfort with unique views of Manhattan through the huge windows on both cabins.
Number of cabins
Number of passengers
110 people per carrier
365 days a year, from 6am to 2am.
Number of users
5 million passengers a year
for the project
The reversible ropeway concept on two independent lines ensures the best system availability and ideal continuity of service by adapting traffic flow requirements during busy times.
The wide-track carriage (the carrying ropes are four metres apart) can withstand high winds, thus ensuring high tramway availability. This innovative set-up is a first for the group.
To complete this construction site over the East River, it was necessary to create and implement procedures that first had to be approved by the city’s authorities: platforms suspended in mid-air, a giant crane carried on a barge and safety officers constantly monitoring operations over roads and areas used by pedestrians.
The system enables the cabins to return to a station, in any situation. The passengers remain in the cabin in total safety.
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), the owner of the aerial tramway, entrusted the group’s North American subsidiary, Leitner-Poma of America, with the operation and maintenance for a period of 5 years, renewed in 2019.
The 22 employees of LPOA have excelled at their job because there has not been a single day of interruption due to a breakdown or maintenance in the last 9 years of operation. Independent cabins serve the link during maintenance actions.
for a real experience
The cabins are spacious, comfortable, accessible to persons with reduced mobility and can accommodate up to 110 people. The large windows look out onto panoramic views of Manhattan neighbourhoods. Despite its original purpose, which is resolutely focused on providing overhead transport, the Roosevelt Island tramway is taken by thousands of tourists who come to discover the famous “New York Flying Buses”.
August 2011 Hurricane Irene unleashed itself on New York with winds of 100 km/h. Traffic came to a halt and all public transport was shut down. Except for the Roosevelt Island AirTram that is, which continued to operate normally! The same scenario arose again in October 2012 with Hurricane Sandy… Each time, the tramway closed for only a few hours while the rest of the city was paralysed (buses, airport, subway, etc.)
When the city of New York decided to transform Welfare Island into a residential area, the newly named Roosevelt Island became a jewel in the middle of New York’s East River. The idea of a ropeway linking Roosevelt Island and Manhattan came about in 1976, initially considered as a temporary means of transport. However, from the very beginning of the operation, the magnificent views of the New York skylines and the enjoyable experience meant that customers came to love this unique ropeway, which over the years became an emblem of the island and a popular attraction with visitors from all over the world.
Airtram in pictures
They talk about it
The Airtram Roosevelt Island
In 2010, after 36 years of service, we embarked on an exciting quest to find a new aerial tramway system to replace the old ropeway. After extensive reviews and discussions, the delicate task was entrusted to the French company POMA, who correctly interpreted our requirements with great care and enthusiasm. The construction was sometimes confronted with difficult conditions, but lasted only nine months and in November 2020 a magnificent aerial tramway was delivered to the island. From the start of the new aerial tramway’s operations, our passengers were happy to be using a reliable, comfortable and safe service. The new tramway’s availability increased considerably, and is now at a rate approaching 99%. This Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway will soon have been in operation for 10 years and more than 20 million visitors have been treated to the exceptional experience of travelling aboard our wonderful tramway.
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