Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

Major Advisor

Mandar Khanal, Ph.D.


Kyungduk Ko, Ph.D.


Mojtaba Sadegh, Ph.D.


The use of aerial tramways is becoming common in cities as a way to provide reliable, safe, sustainable, and cost-effective mass transportation. The aerial tramway is especially effective in the most congested areas of major cities. The growth of Boise State University (BSU) and downtown Boise makes this location especially attractive for a tramway. Moreover, based on data collected for this analysis, it is clear that the BSU community is open to using the tramway instead of more traditional modes of transportation.

The viability of the tramway is further enhanced because the computer science department has moved to City Center Plaza, which is located near the intersection of Main Street and Capitol Boulevard, in the middle of downtown Boise. BSU students, staff and faculty need a convenient mode of transportation to travel between the BSU campus and the Computer Science building. People currently incur substantial costs, both in terms of parking fees and time spent commuting a relatively short distance. Parking in downtown Boise is difficult to find and expensive.

Travel between the BSU campus and downtown is not limited to activities of the students and staff of the university. Several large sporting and cultural destinations are located in the area. While the traffic congestion in Boise does not compare with that of other large Western United States and Canadian cities, it is clear that there is room for improvement as Idahoans incur an opportunity cost of $16.79 for every hour they spend stopped in traffic

The aerial tramway, although not new, has been recently popularized because of the well-known tram in nearby Portland. Trams have a reputation for safety and reliability and can accommodate large numbers of trips at very low incremental cost. As utilization increases, the fixed costs are spread among more riders and the tram’s profitability can be substantial. Trams can become a key component of an area’s mass transit infrastructure.

This study finds that an aerial tramway is feasible and economically viable based on data collected from students, faculty, and staff of BSU. A survey of 1430 respondents about the perceived convenience and costs relative to other transportation modes indicates a significant demand for tram services. Even though there is no historical demand for tram services at BSU, a stated preference approach allows the researcher to ask hypotheticals about the factors that are most closely tied to the viability of the project. Survey responses were statistically analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic modelling with regression analysis.