Unless you are a skier or a public transit geek, it’s not likely that you have ever heard of, or visited, the Austrian village of Serfaus. The lovely little town with a population of around 1,200 is renowned for its ski runs and alpine charm, but it’s also the site of the world’s highest and shortest underground metro system, the Dorfbahn.
Located on a plateau nearly 1,500 meters above the Inn Valley just west of Innsbruck, Serfaus was an early adopter of the car-free, pedestrian-friendly town center concept. But the massive popularity with alpine skiers required a novel way to move visitors around town.
In 1985, Serfaus began construction of the Dorfbahn by building a 1.3 kilometer-long tunnel beneath the village’s main street. Today, the four stop metro system operates a three car hovertrain year-round for free. The carriages use an air-cushion system and the entire metro is remotely operated.