Cableways have a long tradition in Switzerland. Without them, various attractive mountain regions would be inaccessible to tourists. There are currently about 1,800 installations operating in Switzerland. The FOT is responsible for the approx. 650 federally licensed facilities. For draglifts, small cable cars (for a maximum of 8 passengers), and cable cars that do not carry passengers commercially, responsibility lies with the cantons.
Fierce competition in tourism market means that new facilities are continuously being constructed and existing ones modernised and enhanced.
The construction of new cableways and the extension, remodelling or replacement of existing ones is examined by the FOT, as the leading agency for concessions and construction permits, and the issue of operating licences. Throughout the testing procedures, the technical safety and environmental soundness of a cableway is of central importance.
Specialist agencies of the Confederation and the cantons are integral parts of this procedure. They determine whether the cable car companies' projects and operation will have an impact on nature and the landscape: a large number of these cableways cross particularly attractive and protected mountain landscapes.
The FOT is also responsible for monitoring the safety of the federally licensed facilities during the operating phase. Through risk-oriented and random audits as well as inspections, the FOT checks whether the cableway operators fulfil their personal responsibility for safety according to the law. Cableway installations licensed by the cantons are checked by the inspection office of the inter-cantonal body responsible for cableways and ski lifts (IKSS Inspection Office).