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New Paths in Urban Transport

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04/25/2012 | 08:01am EST
Hanover, April 2012Mobility is the most important infrastructure challenge in urban centers • ContiTech Air Spring Systems in global demand as supplier for urban transport solutions • Urban aerial ropeways help to solve traffic problems

According to the United Nations, more than half of the world's population currently lives in urban centers and megacities where millions of people are out and about every day. The home and workplace are often a long way from each other - and as the population increases, so too do the challenges associated with freight and business traffic. Cities are growing so quickly that the infrastructure often cannot keep pace. Modern public transport is faced with huge challenges, because congested approach roads and city centers, constant traffic congestion and harmful emissions place a massive strain on humans, the environment and the infrastructure. What is needed are new urban mobility concepts and suitable innovative technology. "Whenever millions of people - or freight - frequently need to be transported locally or over long distances, air springs are an essential component," says Hannes Friederichsen, head of the air suspension specialist ContiTech Air Spring Systems.

Mobility for megacities: Air spring systems from ContiTech stabilize the cabins both vertically and horizontally.

Photo: ContiTech

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Air spring specialist in global demand for mobility solutions
Specialist technological expertise, huge product diversity and excellent material quality have helped to make the air spring systems developed by ContiTech Air Spring Systems one of the products of choice when it comes to suspension solutions for trucks, trailers, buses and rail vehicles. Air springs not only ensure optimum comfort, safety and quiet traffic, but also help to protect street surfaces. It is precisely in underground railways, commuter railways, local, regional and high-speed trains as well as buses that their benefits become readily apparent. This is why bus and rail transport manufacturers as well as urban transport operators around the globe rely on ContiTech. Underground railway passengers all over the world - from London, Paris, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to Sydney, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Washington - all travel on ContiTech air spring products.

ContiTech Air Spring Systems is particularly well represented in China, where the buses produced by the leading bus manufacturer Yutong are all equipped with ContiTech air spring systems, as are nearly all of the eleven metro lines in Shanghai, which is home to 20 million people. Inter-city links are every bit as important for the functioning of larger urban centers too. Following the success of the Siemens high-speed trains VELARO China, which are equipped with ContiTech air springs, the company was awarded a contract to equip the latest generation of high-speed trains - the CRH 3 - which are built under license and operate on a number of routes including between Beijing and Shanghai.

ContiTech will also play a key role in transporting people en masse during one of the upcoming major sporting events: The 2014 Winter Olympics. Not only will passengers enjoy the benefits of ContiTech air springs when travelling in the trains operating on the high-speed route between Moscow and Sotschi, but Air Spring Systems will also be equipping one of the main aerial ropeways with its air springs. This is a key component of the traffic infrastructure for the Winter Olympics, which is expected to receive visitors numbering in the millions. "This huge international success is all thanks to our global site and service structure. From our eight plants in China, Germany, India, Korea, Mexico and Turkey, we serve key markets with high-quality, locally-made products. For us, this means that wherever in the world our help and expertise is needed, our employees are on hand almost instantly," says Hannes Friederichsen.

Aerial ropeways as shuttles and complementary transportation
Aerial ropeways are more than just leisure and tourist attractions. It is precisely in urban centers that this energy-saving and environmentally friendly means of transport can offer a solution to numerous challenges in transportation. Aerial ropeways are often the only means of transport, particularly in areas where there is a lack of space or obstacles such as wide rivers or differences in elevation need to be overcome. As a result, more and more transport planners are starting to consider the use of aerial ropeways. To enable high transport capacities and, in turn, make aerial ropeways competitive in comparison with other means of transport, high-performance systems that can carry up to 8,000 people per hour are needed. One such system that offers sufficient capacity is the "3S Ropeway" from the aerial ropeway manufacturer Doppelmayr, which was successfully used for the first time in a European city at the 2011 National Garden Show in Koblenz. The aerial ropeway is designed with two carrier cables, which act as a single rail track, and a haulage rope. This ensures that passengers can sit in absolute comfort inside the cabin even during high winds. "Only this design, which involves high-performance ContiTech air springs, can ensure this. The air springs stabilize the cabins both vertically and horizontally because they are very light and, at the same time, can transport a high load capacity," says Peter Luger, head of aerial ropeway development at Doppelmayr.



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