Nadine Haas, Doppelmayr, Federal Garden Show

TUM Alumna Nadine Haas develops cable cars for the Austrian company Doppelmayr (Picture: Doppelmayr).

Alumni in sustainability

Cable Car Engineer Nadine Haas

“Cable Cars Are Part of a Sustainable Future for Me”
14. Jun 2024  |  
Reading time Min.
For the 2023 Federal Garden Show in Mannheim, Nadine Haas, as an employee of Doppelmayr, planned, built, and operated a cable car, sparking a wave of enthusiasm. The TUM Alumna now wants to carry this momentum forward because the world needs sustainable modes of transportation.
There’s a saying in the industry where Nadine Haas works: “Once a cable car person, always a cable car person.” Those who get into it stay. Nadine Haas knows exactly how it happened to her. It was in 2015, at 3,869 meters above sea level, in the highest city in the world: La Paz, Bolivia. After her semester abroad at TUM’s partner university in Valparaíso, a port city in Chile, Nadine Haas didn’t go straight back home but instead traveled through South America, including a stop in La Paz.

Of course, cable cars were already familiar to the budding engineer before this trip. In the mountains while skiing, they were a regular companion. They also frequently appeared in her lectures during her studies. Constructing cable cars is classic mechanical engineering, Nadine Haas says: “You see what happens, how everything works, that’s the kind of machine that fascinates me.” But in La Paz, she had a major revelation for the first time.


Nadine Haas arrived in La Paz as an “unknowing tourist,” as she puts it, and discovered that cable cars are not just used as chairlifts for ski resorts here but as full-fledged public transportation, like buses, trams, and subways elsewhere. La Paz is high and hilly in the Andes, with many steep and narrow streets, so a public network of cable cars is ideal. In 2014, the Austrian company Doppelmayr Cable Car GmbH built the first three cable cars in the Bolivian capital. A year later, Nadine Haas rode all three and fell in love.

“This urban application of cable cars stayed in the back of my mind throughout my entire master’s program,” Nadine Haas says. So, she did an internship with the cable car manufacturer Leitner, delved into the design and planning of cable car systems, wrote her master’s thesis at the engineering company MAN, and applied to Doppelmayr – for a position that wasn’t even advertised. “I wanted to give it a try because it would have bothered me if I missed this chance. At that point, I didn’t think about a Plan B,” says Nadine Haas.

You see what happens, how everything works—that’s the kind of machine that fascinates me. 

Nadine Haas

A Cable Car Sparks Enthusiasm

She didn’t have to. Today, there are ten gondola lines in La Paz, and TUM Alumna Nadine Haas works as an engineer at Doppelmayr. During her bachelor’s and master’s studies, Nadine Haas was very active in the student council, honing her skills in communication, project management, and teamwork. “That prepared me sustainably for my career, I’m convinced of it,” she says today. At Doppelmayr, she tries to bring the South American enthusiasm for cable cars as efficient and sustainable transportation to Europe. “The cable car is a very environmentally friendly, quiet, and safe mode of transportation that requires little sealed space yet can transport many people and overcome obstacles,” says Nadine Haas.

She was able to prove this, among other instances, at the 2023 Federal Garden Show in Mannheim. As project manager, she was responsible for a cable car with 64 cabins that transported three million passengers across the Neckar River from one exhibition area to another. From the tendering process to approval, planning, construction, operation, and dismantling, Nadine Haas spent more than three years on the project. “I know every detail, every stone, and every screw,” she says today.

After the Federal Garden Show, the cable car was dismantled, but it left behind great enthusiasm. “In Mannheim, I feel that the population is ready for a cable car as a mode of transportation,” says Nadine Haas. “A real wave of enthusiasm has emerged in the region. They are now investigating whether cable car lines can be permanently implemented there.”

Nadine Haas, Cable Cars, VRN

Nadine Haas wants to bring cable cars as a mode of transportation to Europe. This picture shows Nadine Haas speak at the Cable Car Day organized by the Rhein-Neckar Transport Association during the Federal Garden Show.

The cable car as a future element of public transport – that’s what TUM Alumna Nadine Haas envisions for the rest of Germany and Europe. “I notice that more and more people are seriously considering cable cars as a mode of transportation. I am convinced that cable cars will also come to Europe as a mode of transport,” says Nadine Haas, although it might still take a few years in Germany to overcome all the bureaucratic hurdles. The Federal Ministry of Transport only released a guide for “Urban Cable Cars in Public Transport” at the end of 2022, whereas France has had such a guide for a decade.

Nadine Haas knows that cable cars are not always the perfect solution. Sometimes subways, buses, trams, or commuter trains are better because they cover more stops, have a higher capacity, or meet other requirements. But for the climate, for our descendants, for the future, we need environmentally friendly mobility, says the TUM Alumna. And for that, it is essential to explore all possibilities and combine various sustainable modes of transport. Cities are getting bigger, and the demand for mobility is increasing. This is about quality of life, says Nadine Haas. “The time is now, and the key is to establish sustainable, holistic, and multimodal transport concepts – cable cars are simply part of that.”

Nadine Haas, TUM Alumna

Nadine Haas (Picture: Doppelmayr)

Nadine Haas

Bachelor Management and Mechanical Engineering 2015, Master Mechanical Engineering 2018

Nadine Haas chose to study at TUM because she liked the combination of management and mechanical engineering. She was heavily involved in the Department of Mechanical Engineering student council and was a mentee in the TUM Mentoring Program by Alumni for Students in 2017. In the same year, she also received the Deutschlandstipendium from TUM.

Nadine Haas works at the Austrian cable car manufacturer Doppelmayr as a project engineer for Germany, Austria, and the Benelux countries. In addition to planning mountain railways for ski resorts and tourist facilities, she is responsible for developing urban cable cars as transportation in cities.

For the 2023 Federal Garden Show (BUGA) in Mannheim, Nadine Haas planned, developed, and managed the construction and operation of a cable car with 64 cabins as project manager. This cable car connected the two exhibition areas Spinellipark and Luisenpark during the BUGA. The cabins were designed for ten people each, and within seven to eight minutes, up to 2.800 people could be transported per hour in each direction.