This year 2014, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the starting of operations of the Tokyo monorail, the first urban transit grade straddle beam type monorail. Since 1964, 265 km of public transportation monorails were constructed and started operations in ten countries: Japan, United States, Brazil, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and India. In several countries, monorails have been used in major trunk lines, just like in Japan and China where there are more than 200 km of monorail systems built to date. In the other countries mentioned above, monorails have been used as trunk lines or as feeder lines and account for the balance of the distance. It is worth to know that in Sao Paulo, Brazil, there are close to 45 km of monorail under construction as trunk or feeder lines currently. In China and India there are many more systems with tens of kilometers each, under development as well.
Even if the source of information used above provides a number of caveats as to what is included and how the data can be used, the numbers shared give us a glimpse of the magnitude of what a mature technology like underground metros has been able to deliver in more than 100 years of application.
Monorails, being highly efficient to build, can provide similar statistics for growth in the upcoming years as trunk lines or feeder lines at a fraction of the capital expenditures of more traditional systems.
As most of you who receive this newsletter know, we are getting close to our next meeting in Wuppertal, Germany. The expectation is to create a set of Monorail Performance Specifications to allow potential providers to expedite the implementation of public transportation solutions by bringing available private expertise and innovation into the transit development process.
It has taken billions of dollars around the world to develop monorail systems to what we have in operations today. This is the opportunity to use that knowledge and consolidate it in a way that unlocks the development of this technology. Monorail development can further the well-being of our communities, provide affordable segregated transportation alternatives, are fast to implement and are efficient to operate and maintain.
Come and join us at the Wuppertal workshop and be part of the future.
On behalf of the Executive Council,
Carlos Banchik, P.E.
International Monorail Association