Separated grade monorail is best alternative for mass transit
I had a comment on the article written by Jane Reuter in the April 19 edition.
Jane wrote: “Those mass transit possibilities include a bus guideway system, which would set the buses in a private lane apart from other interstate traffic, and a monorail, also with its own track. Both the guideway buses and the monorail would travel at faster speeds than general traffic.”
When regular people read this information, they will think that a monorail and a guideway bus are the same. I believe the bus guideway system you are considering is at grade. They usually are, to keep costs down.
Any at-grade system has the capacity to create serious accidents. They also are prone to suffering during heavy rains and bad weather. There are automated bus systems but they are more dangerous than with an operator.
Jane’s sentence makes it appear that a monorail has its own track, just like the buses. There is a huge difference here that should be presented to the people.
Monorail trains ride either wrapped around a beam (Disney, Seattle, Las Vegas) or suspended (Wuppertal, Germany).
A key point to this is that a monorail requires very little land use to operate. It requires roughly a 3-foot square piece of land every 100 feet.
There is absolutely no interface with at-grade modes, including animals and pedestrians.
Since the system is 100 percent grade separated, it can travel faster and also be automated very, very easily.
In addition, those who have ridden a straddle beam monorail understand the enjoyment of the ride.
I equate it to being on an airplane. You cannot see the guideway, and it feels like you are floating along.
It is up to the news media to convey all aspects of each mode to the people.
At least in your community, you seem to have honest discussion. In Houston, we have the Houston Chronicle, and it provides no objective news to us. It is following the mantra of our transit organization and only pushing light rail.
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