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Old April 21st, 2008, 08:15 PM   #121
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Old April 21st, 2008, 08:20 PM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weiaze View Post
- What do you think of monorail technology versus heavy rail and tram technology? Personally, I think monorails are too slow and should opt for either subways for the speed and volume or trams for the low cost and for being street friendly. To me, monorail is neither here nor there.

Thank you
Most urban monorails have a top speed similar to other rail (80km/h). Check out this video of Tokyo's monorail:



Also, monorail can carry up to heavy rail capacities. A 4 car Hitachi monorail train can carry up to 900+ passengers, comparable to any heavy rail metro (source). So personally, I believe that for heavy use corridors monorail makes much more sense than subways, but for less heavy corridors LRT right of ways are the way to go.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 08:28 PM   #123
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Thank you for all who responded.

Does anyone here know of any studies done showing side by side comparisons between heavy rail, light rail and monorail in terms of cost per passenger?

I know it can be pretty subjective, as one poster said it depends on the local circumstances, but I'm trying to get my hands on some stats. Thanks Wuppeltje for the links and the figures. I appreciate it.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 08:41 PM   #124
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monorail

TQ for the response!

There is a monorail in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It travels nowhere near 80kmh as it has to twist and turn according to the lay of the land and cannot move at top speed. That's why I prefer subways - underground means less restrictions in terms of built obstacles. Also the thin tracks means that the monorail carriage is narrow as it cannot support a large carriage - so less passengers. Only 258 per 2 car train. If it were bigger like hitachi - then not much to distinguish a monorail track from a heavy rail track right? Both tracks will have to be huge to support the large carriages.

More questions: I know people will say monorail is cheaper but do the pros outweight the cons? For example, when you need to expand the station and build interchanges? Can a monorail station expand into an interchange when it competes for space with sidewalks and office buildings? But underground, it can expand more freely. Also, how about the physics? Monorail wheels run sideways and heavy rail wheels run on top of the tracks. Which is more efficient? That's where I really need statistics and figures for proof.

Also monorail tech has been around for ages since Disneyland or before. How come they have not caught on as heavy rail trains have? I know all the top metros - Paris, Barcelona, Moscow, Hong Kong, Singapore, Madrid etc are all heavy rail systems. How come none of them are monorail? Even Tokyo's monorail is just a single line if I am not mistaken? I was there before and all the trains I took were heavy rail and mostly underground.


BTW I am not fighting here - just discussing. Cheers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
Most urban monorails have a top speed similar to other rail (80km/h). Check out this video of Tokyo's monorail:



Also, monorail can carry up to heavy rail capacities. A 4 car Hitachi monorail train can carry up to 900+ passengers, comparable to any heavy rail metro (source). So personally, I believe that for heavy use corridors monorail makes much more sense than subways, but for less heavy corridors LRT right of ways are the way to go.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 08:47 PM   #125
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The only NA run that makes a profit I believe is the Las Vegas Strip (buses). NYC's MTA as a system I don't believe makes a profit, and no other system in NA comes close except maybe Toronto or Mexico city. correct me if I am wrong.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 09:16 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weiaze View Post
TQ for the response!

There is a monorail in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It travels nowhere near 80kmh as it has to twist and turn according to the lay of the land and cannot move at top speed. That's why I prefer subways - underground means less restrictions in terms of built obstacles. Also the thin tracks means that the monorail carriage is narrow as it cannot support a large carriage - so less passengers. Only 258 per 2 car train. If it were bigger like hitachi - then not much to distinguish a monorail track from a heavy rail track right? Both tracks will have to be huge to support the large carriages.

More questions: I know people will say monorail is cheaper but do the pros outweight the cons? For example, when you need to expand the station and build interchanges? Can a monorail station expand into an interchange when it competes for space with sidewalks and office buildings? But underground, it can expand more freely. Also, how about the physics? Monorail wheels run sideways and heavy rail wheels run on top of the tracks. Which is more efficient? That's where I really need statistics and figures for proof.

Also monorail tech has been around for ages since Disneyland or before. How come they have not caught on as heavy rail trains have? I know all the top metros - Paris, Barcelona, Moscow, Hong Kong, Singapore, Madrid etc are all heavy rail systems. How come none of them are monorail? Even Tokyo's monorail is just a single line if I am not mistaken? I was there before and all the trains I took were heavy rail and mostly underground.


BTW I am not fighting here - just discussing. Cheers
KL's monorail is still a 'work in progress' to some degree. Scomi has a prototype model that should be closer to Hitachi's monorail capacities. The system itself has been built to handle 300,000 passengers per day I believe. Check out the monorail thread in this forum for more info.

Osaka and Chiba have added a second line to their systems, so track switching is not a problem. While it may take up space in the sky, building underground is not super easy either since there are many utilities that run under the ground (one of the reasons why subways cost so much).

As for the reasons why monorails have never taken off, there are several reasons, but none I personally feel that are strong enough to write them off completely. First off, monorail technology was developed at a time when the focus was to build highways through cities rather than transit lines. There is the reality that monorail is a priporitory (sp) technology meaning that if you were to buy new trains, it would probably have to be from the same manufacturer. NIMBYism also plays a factor as well.

I think the main reason why today there are so many hassles getting monorail off the ground though is that most cities built their subways decades ago, and while transit expansion is needed, it may not be dense enough to warrant that kind of investment. So monorail tends to compete with light rail, which tends to be cheaper for the most part and designed to handle moderate densities much better.

Here are some links, one very pro, and the other very con, about monorails. I'll let you come to your own conclusions:

http://monorails.org/
http://lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_monorail.htm
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:24 PM   #127
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With most Asian cities being as dense as they are this really hammers the value of density and how ridership increases with it..

Bingo....a transit system's cost efficiency is ultimately determined by the built form it services. Large, consistently dense cities like in asia, where you have a captive ridership, already have the built infrastructure to support a cost-effective majority of routes. It could also have something to do with wages possibly being lower and a lack of unions.

Any route or system can be profitable by simply adjusting service routes and fares to make it so. But in most cases (especially in NA, but even in europe) the service of an entire city is a combination of profitable routes, break-even routes, and money-losing routes, leading to an average cost per ride vs the cost of providing it.

If the fares are too high...you lose ridership....if the service is shitty...you lose ridership. That's why private transit companies are only interested in profitable routes...they either raise fares or cut service. Public transit agencies are not there to make a profit, and receive tax subsidies, so obviously that is the most cost-effective route to take in from a user standpoint.

Most people would argue that a private company is better at cutting the fat, therefore being more cost-efficient in the end, but i think that is completely dependent on who you are talking about....i know there's no way a private transit company could do what the TTC does for less money...the TTC is far too in-house, comprehensive and experienced.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:33 PM   #128
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The only NA run that makes a profit I believe is the Las Vegas Strip (buses). NYC's MTA as a system I don't believe makes a profit, and no other system in NA comes close except maybe Toronto or Mexico city. correct me if I am wrong.
Like I said, any route can make a profit, by either simply reducing service to have fares more than cover the cost (which means long wait times and over-crowded vehicles), or by having a heavily used route, where vehicles are always full, even with frequent service.

As far as entire systems go, the TTC has generally been the most cost-efficient transit system in NA, based on fare-box recovery (until recently about 80-82% )

There are some smaller suburban and commuter systems that can post those kinds of numbers, but they generally either run poor service and coverage or large trains that only run during peak hours. The TTC does it while delivering good service on all routes...at all times...covering the entire city.



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Old April 23rd, 2008, 10:43 PM   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weiaze View Post
Thank you for all who responded.

Does anyone here know of any studies done showing side by side comparisons between heavy rail, light rail and monorail in terms of cost per passenger?

I know it can be pretty subjective, as one poster said it depends on the local circumstances, but I'm trying to get my hands on some stats. Thanks Wuppeltje for the links and the figures. I appreciate it.

Page 56 of the following pdf has some comparative cost figures (per km), plus ridership for LRT, BRT and a couple of underground systems. Mostly in North America. You can figure out a cost of construction per km per passenger from it.
http://www.nbrti.org/docs/pdf/Bogota...May%202006.pdf


Are the worth it? Well what else is competeing for money in the particular city or region? What sort of density/demand is there for the particular city/region?

As much as underground transit is nice to have (and ultimately preferred), I think that universal access to good education, healthcare and basic infrastructure for the entire city matters more. With slums on the grow in many cities I think that for some cities it would be irresponsible to put money into subway when there are other transit alternatives that still work **and** can free up capital to address the immediate needs of the residents.

Likewise it would;t make much sense to have an underground system in communities that have nearly rural density... as some suburban areas in North America might. Passengers per $ spent would be hard to justify. Better to pu the money into adopting policies that will encourage some base density.
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Last edited by adrimm; April 24th, 2008 at 07:00 AM. Reason: adding paragraph.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 12:01 AM   #130
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Well,some sources said that therecent 6-hour long strike of BKV(the public transport company) cause 1 billion HUF(~4million EUR) damage to the country...so the reverse is true too,that it benefits the country by 4 million EUR in 6 hours...
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Old April 24th, 2008, 12:20 AM   #131
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It's not just a matter of costs. It's primarily a matter of needs. And big cities really need these underground systems no matter the cost.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 05:02 AM   #132
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The only new large scale monorail system built in the United States is in Las Vegas. It demonstrates some of the advantages that monorail's can have. The first is that there was very little interruption during the construction. Secondly construction was completed much quicker than would've been possible underground. Another plus, especially in Las Vegas is that patrons have spectacular views during their trip. The last factor is on the safety side, where as subway tunnels are difficult to evacuate an emergency a monorail system can be evacuated via ladders the matter where it is.

While not right for all cities overhead mass transit systems (monorail and elevated rail) normally are cheaper to construct and just as efficient to operate so most cases are probably a better choice. There are a few exceptions (New York for example) but I believe in most cases overhead is the better, though less spectacular solution.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #133
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All systems have their pros and cons. One has to evaluate needs appropriately, and more importantly, have a clear and realistic objective: what are you trying to achieve, and is it realistic to expect such an achievement to be necessary.
In many cases for big cities, this can result in a demand that exceeds 10,000ppdph, at which point you will want to be looking at subway technology as a realistic potential solution - LRT can still cope if the design is flexible, but this isn't always the case. Subways can hold anywhere from 15,000ppdph to 50,000ppdph, depending on the length and width of the vehicle. You can theorhetically go higher still, but the trains will be longer than 10 cars, so you may want to re-evaluate your strategy if it gets to that.

In every city, there are places that you simply do not build subways. Some places have demand, other places don't. Understanding where to build them, and how to integrate them into the network is critical to the viability and ROI of subways.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 07:47 AM   #134
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Of course it's worth it.

But I'll tell you this: in many cases building light rail is a waste of money. Especially in the USA. Like San Jose, CA, for example.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 09:26 AM   #135
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But I'll tell you this: in many cases building light rail is a waste of money. Especially in the USA. Like San Jose, CA, for example.
In many cases? I'm not so sure. Depending on the transit stategy involved, it can be a good way to save money while delivering a more comprehensive system. There are definately places where LRT has no business being considered, but there are, generally speaking, more places LRT can be used than subways... some cities are exceptions though (Tokyo for example , even those "New Transportation Systems" crap they use instead of LRT but for similar reasons is inappropriate).
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Old April 24th, 2008, 07:10 PM   #136
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The only new large scale monorail system built in the United States is in Las Vegas. It demonstrates some of the advantages that monorail's can have. The first is that there was very little interruption during the construction. Secondly construction was completed much quicker than would've been possible underground. Another plus, especially in Las Vegas is that patrons have spectacular views during their trip. The last factor is on the safety side, where as subway tunnels are difficult to evacuate an emergency a monorail system can be evacuated via ladders the matter where it is.

While not right for all cities overhead mass transit systems (monorail and elevated rail) normally are cheaper to construct and just as efficient to operate so most cases are probably a better choice. There are a few exceptions (New York for example) but I believe in most cases overhead is the better, though less spectacular solution.
I wouldn't really consider Las Vegas a large scale monorail, at least in terms of capacity. The real heavy capacity monorails exist in Japan and China currently:

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Old April 24th, 2008, 07:13 PM   #137
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It's worth it in the long run. Would be nice to see some more US cities getting heavy rail.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 08:26 AM   #138
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It's only worth it if it's needed.
Suburban areas simply don't have the ridership levels to warrant a subway. An LRT would do just as well. Remember you can build between 4 to 5 km of rapid transit LRT to every one km of subway. Except in very high density inner city areas, most citizens I think would rather have 100km of LRT than 20km of subway. It would serve far more people, areas of the city, and have higher risership levels.
Remember when you are spending $250,000,000 per km on a subway that could end up bankrupting the system.

ASs an example, Edmonton and Calgary began building their LRT systems at about the same time and are similar sized cities. Edmonton choose to build a shorter system but with the entire downtown area as a subway. Calgary took the other path, no downtown subway but a larger coverage area. Both have spent, in todays dollars, aboutthe same amount of money. The result? .........Calgary's CTrain carries 250,000/day while Edmonton's only 55,000 and now Edmontonians can only dream of having ridership levels as high as Calgary's.
It's better to have a good system that serves most of the city, than a great subway system that only serves a quarter number of the people.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #139
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Definitely. After many years it will bring huge advantages to the city. Look at big cities subways and how would they look without them.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 06:20 PM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrimm View Post
Page 56 of the following pdf has some comparative cost figures (per km), plus ridership for LRT, BRT and a couple of underground systems. Mostly in North America. You can figure out a cost of construction per km per passenger from it.
http://www.nbrti.org/docs/pdf/Bogota...May%202006.pdf


Are the worth it? Well what else is competeing for money in the particular city or region? What sort of density/demand is there for the particular city/region?

As much as underground transit is nice to have (and ultimately preferred), I think that universal access to good education, healthcare and basic infrastructure for the entire city matters more. With slums on the grow in many cities I think that for some cities it would be irresponsible to put money into subway when there are other transit alternatives that still work **and** can free up capital to address the immediate needs of the residents.

Likewise it would;t make much sense to have an underground system in communities that have nearly rural density... as some suburban areas in North America might. Passengers per $ spent would be hard to justify. Better to pu the money into adopting policies that will encourage some base density.
Agreed. Manhattan's new subway line is estimated to cost $1 BILLION per kilometer and will take 10-15 years before it is operational!!! No doubt in my mind going for above grade transit (ie: monorail) would make more sense.
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