Sustainable Energy

How cable-car systems are revolutionizing public transport almost 12,000 feet above sea level

Key Points
  • The Bolivian city of La Paz is located almost 12,000 feet above sea-level.
  • Its cable car system was launched in 2014 and has changed the way people get around.
How cable-car systems are changing public transport in La Paz

Located almost 12,000 feet above sea level, the Bolivian city of La Paz is a bustling place where the air is thin and the scenery dramatic.

Its Mi Teleferico – which literally translates as "my cable car" – transit system was launched in 2014. It soars above city streets and buildings to transport thousands of people to and from their homes, offices and everything else in between.

"Every day more than 230,000 people are … transported through this cable transportation system," Cesar Dockweiler, the CEO of Mi Teleferico, told CNBC's "Sustainable Energy."

"We have managed to transport more than 150 million people in less than four years," he added. "It is a transport system that has really transformed people's lives."

Mi Teleferico is not the only cable car system in Latin America. The Colombian city of Medellin opened its Metrocable system in 2004, for example.

Apart from the fact that a cable car's route is both picturesque and uninterrupted, there are other benefits to using one.

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, part of University College London, has stated that the "speed and comparatively low cost of construction, and low levels of particulate emissions of aerial cable-cars, are part of their appeal in dense and hilly urban areas."

Back in La Paz, those involved with Mi Teleferico are keen to emphasize its sustainability credentials.

"The system is friendly to the environment because it does not use fossil fuels," Miguel Arenas, Mi Teleferico's maintenance manager, said.

"It uses electric power for its main drive, so this source is cleaner and doesn't emit any kind of fossil pollutant or carbon dioxide," Arenas added.