AMS Interdisciplinary course Metropolitan Solutions

Case study IJbaan: Facilitating movements across the river IJ

In the course ‘Metropolitan Solutions’ an interdisciplinary and international group of 15 students worked together on a study topic relevant for developing the metropolitan region and within the topical focus of AMS Institute. The study topic was IJbaan – a possible new urban cable trajectory crossing the river IJ.

The population of Amsterdam is expected to increase incrementally in the coming few decades, reaching up to 100,000 new residents in 2040. As a result, Amsterdam is becoming increasingly polycentric and the city borders are continuously expanding, changing the demand for both expansion and upgrade of the public transport network between different parts of the city. These predicted changes call for improvements and additions to the existing infrastructure.

In terms of mobility, one of the major challenges for the infrastructural system of Amsterdam is to facilitate movement across the river IJ. Multiple solutions have been proposed, varying from building bridges and tunnels to increasing the frequency and amount of ferries connecting the northern and southern banks of the river IJ. However, the existing transport solutions are still mainly focused on the canal ring and western part of the city, leaving a transportation gap in the eastern districts.

In order to solve the issue of crossing the river IJ, the municipality started an initiative called “Sprong over het IJ”. The general idea of the project was to get citizens involved in finding transport solutions to cross the IJ. One of the plans launched was by Bas Dekker, entrepreneur and inhabitant of Amsterdam-North, called “EI over het IJ” (egg over the river IJ), which entailed a cable car line crossing the river IJ in the west of Amsterdam. During the course ‘Metropolitan Solutions’ the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats of a new urban cable car trajectory in the East of Amsterdam, are researched in the perspective of mobility, traffic flows, spatial, visual and social characteristics.

Bas Dekker: “We look to provide an innovative and sustainable solution to the city’s mobility challenges. The IJbaan is a 100% electrical public transportation link, which caters for pedestrians and cyclists. With an average speed of 29 km/hour it offers a faster option than cars within city limits. And with a capacity of up tot 10.000 passengers an hour, it is a serious mode of transport. Of course, looking at the city from 100 meters above the IJ river also makes it a great trip.”

The gondolas that Bas Dekker proposes for the cable car initiative are suitable for around 35 pedestrians or about 15 cyclists and can run continuously. Thousands of passengers can be transferred per hour. And if at some stage a metro or bridge is built in its place, the cable cars can be moved to another location, which is good for sustainability.

The topics investigated by the students were, among others, the advantages and disadvantages of the initial trajectory and potential locations, considering choice of mobility, traffic flows, spatial and visual considerations. And based on the locations of stations, what the impact would be of the proposed trajectories in terms of technical restrictions, spatial impact and social feasibility.

Copyright header image: Floris Visualisaties