Aerial People Movers is a simple concept.  Transportation hubs are located over a wide area at intervals of about 2 km. or less. The goal is to have hubs within the walking distance of the majority of the population. The hubs are interconnected by high capacity aerial ropeways to form a network.  

Passenger carrier flow around the network to meet changing demands.  The capacity of each link  constantly changes as carrier spacing is adjusted.  Assuming a 15 passenger carrier with the current 6 second spacing interval, the capacity is 9,000 passengers per hour in each direction. This is greater than the capacity light rail on a dedicated track.

Carriers are transferred to connecting ropeways at each hub terminal.  Once the carrier is detached from the haul rope, all motion is controlled by Linear Synchronous Motors (LSM).  Unlike current ropeways, there are no rolling tires slowly moving carriers around at a predetermined speed. Each APM carrier moves at different speeds depending on conditions.  In the LSM terminal, there are no moving parts other than switch rails.

Hubs operate like traffic circles.  Terminals are circular with incoming and outgoing carrier traffic entering and exiting the circle just like cars enter and leave a round-about. The difference is that movement of each carrier is under total control of APM central computer.


Access to the APM is limited to those holding a valid APM debit card with a imbedded Radio-Frequency Identification Chip (RFID).   This is the same card that identifies and verifies the movement of each individual passenger in the system by reading RFID readers throughout they their travels.  At the passenger’s destination exit, the RFID reader charges the debit card.  During their entire trip, passengers very rarely see any operating personnel. However, passengers know that they are under constant visual surveillance by security personnel within the hub and at the network master control center.

The loading platform is always placed above ground level to control access, increase security and improve ropeway operations. Passenger gain access to the APM by selecting their destination hub and receiving a ticket that shows their loading time.  At the correct time, the passenger passes through the controlling turnstile to ride the escalator to the loading platform which is inside the hub circle.  In less than a minute, the passenger’s carrier arrives. When the carrier passes the door open zone, they quickly step into the slowly moving carrier before the door closes in less than 3 seconds. Because all the passengers in the carrier are going to the same destination, no one exits and there are no transfers at hubs.


The APM computer software operates similar to a package delivery system. Each carrier is a package of passengers going to the same address. The position of every passenger is continually monitored until he leaves the APM network.  The system knows not only the exact location of every carrier but also which passengers are in each carrier.  This information is confirmed during loading and throughout the travels of the passenger. The APM knows if there is additional capacity on a carrier before allowing awaiting passenger access to the loading platform. Their loading is confirmed by the RFID reader at the carrier entrance.

When a carrier arrives at its destination station, it is assigned a new destination depending on many factors including long term historic data, rules, unanticipated waiting time at a hub and anticipated events. This flexibility allows more carriers to flow on the ropeways toward high demand hubs and away from lower demand hubs.

Although carrier flow constantly changes during the day, it will stay close to historic records.  The net effect is that the system constantly attempts to optimize the operation of the network to meet given objectives.  

Read more details in the linked sections.   

How It Works