Dodger Stadium has moved a step closer to having an on-site aerial gondola installed after the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) signed a letter of intent with Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies (ARTT).

The development formally begins the negotiations to make the privately-funded gondola a reality, moving the initiative from the ‘Unsolicited Proposals’ evaluation stage to the project development phase.

Metro and ARTT will now negotiate to reach agreements on roles and responsibilities for planning and constructing the gondola at the home of Major League Baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Metro chief executive Phillip A. Washington said: “This is a critical milestone in developing an innovative and exciting way for Dodgers fans to get to the game while reducing traffic. For the sixth year in a row, the Dodgers have led Major League Baseball in attendance and we want to keep that streak going by finding ways to make it more convenient to reach the stadium.”

Plans for the aerial transit system were first mooted back in April. The proposed system could move more than 5,000 people each hour, allowing fans to travel from downtown Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium in just five minutes. Total project costs are estimated at $125m (£98m/€109m).

ARTT was founded by Drew McCourt, son of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

Tucker Kain, chief financial officer of the Dodgers, said: “The Dodgers are excited that Metro is moving forward with new, innovative ways for people to get to and from Dodger Stadium. We will continue to work with local agencies and community groups on ways to improve the stadium experience for Dodger fans, stadium visitors, employees and local residents.”

ARTT project manager Martha Welborne added: “The signing of a letter of intent with Metro is a critical step in building the gondola between Union Station and Dodger Stadium. This privately-funded, zero-emission transit line will have the capacity to move thousands of people every hour while reducing traffic and directly linking Dodger Stadium with the region’s public transit system. We look forward to working with Metro staff to get the aerial off the ground and fans flying to the stadium in 2022.”

Metro has run the Dodger Stadium Express free bus service from Union Station since 2010. A second route between Harbor Gateway Transit Center in the South Bay and the ballpark was added in 2015.

ARTT is not the only firm with ambitious transport plans for Dodger Stadium. In August, The Boring Company, which is owned by US business mogul Elon Musk, proposed an innovative solution called Dugout Loop, a zero-emissions, high-speed, underground public transportation system from the Los Feliz, East Hollywood, or Rampart Village neighbourhoods.

The purpose of Dugout Loop is to help reduce traffic in Los Angeles by providing a clean and efficient public transportation option to Dodger Stadium. Dugout Loop will seek to complement existing public transportation systems and provide an all-electric and affordable option that will transport baseball fans and concertgoers directly to Dodger Stadium in less than four minutes.

Kain has publicly supported The Boring Company’s project but it remains unclear whether both this and the aerial transit system would be implemented at Dodger Stadium.

Images: ARTT