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Please Help Us Educate Austin About Monorail!

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How to Help

Please write or email your elected officials or write a letter to the editor with your opinions about Monorail and rapid transit in Austin.

Send an E-Mail to the Mayor and City Council

Send a Letter or an Email to the Mayor and City Council

 Send a Letter to the Editor of the Austin American Statesman

Send a Letter to the Editor of the Austin Chronicle

Relevant News Links

MTA Press Release- MTA to Begin Rail-Grinding Project

Austin American Statesman: Capital Metro carrying the freight

Articles

New: Common Monorail Myths vs. Facts (revised 2/12/04)

Capital Metro Update (Part 1): Comment on Capital Metro's Bus Rapid Transit Plans

The Truth About Monorail Capital Construction Costs (Part 1): NOT $150 Million a Mile

'Some Thoughts on Rapid Mass Transit in Austin', by Jim Mareck

AMP Responds to Austan Librach

Monorail Has Significant Construction Advantage in Austin - High-Quality, Low-Cost Concrete is the Key

Monorail and the Great Streets Program: A Great Fit

Why Monorail can be up to THREE times faster than light rail in dense urban areas

Why We Believe that Monorail in Austin has not Been Previously Considered

Metal to Metal Maintenance of 'steel flanged wheels riding on steel rails' by Mr. Joel B. Marsel (technical paper)

Seven reasons why light rail failed in the last election and how Monorail solves these problems

Did You Know..?

Why We Believe Cap Metro's 'Revised Executive Study Milestone 2: Urban Transit Vehicles' is Flawed

Why We Believe that the Cap Metro Milestone-2 Report Capital Cost Figures are Biased in Favor of Light Rail and Against Monorail

Why Have New Light Rail Systems Proliferated over the Last Five Years?

The Problems with HOV in the Southwest Corridor and How They are Solved by Monorail

Monorail vs. Light Rail (Source:The Monorail Society)

Why Do Light Rail Accidents Occur?

Why Monorail Makes Good Economic Sense

The Light Rail 'Utilities' Problem..

The 'Switch Myth' (Source: The Monorail Society)

View from a monorail- monorail overtaking surface traffic (Source: Eurotren Monoviga, S.A)

Light Rail Disruption of Businesses During System Construction

Houston Photos: p. 1 p. 2, p. 3

Analysis of How the Texas State Capitol View Corridors  Affects the Proposed Monorail Route

What is happening with Transit in Austin?

As you probably know, light rail was narrowly defeated in the November 2000 election. After the election, Austin Capitol Metro came out with a study called the Rapid Transit Project which chose light rail as their preferred mode of transit.

 In 2003, Capital Metro and the City of Austin changed tactics and is now promoting a commuter rail and bus rapid transit plan, although we believe that they will eventually again promote light rail.

We believe that Monorail is a better solution for transit in and around Austin and that 300 MPH maglev is a better solution for inter-city transit such as the Austin-San Antonio corridor (see our updated section below, entitled 'Who are We?').

To summarize, we believe that the citizens of Austin should be aware of the advantages of clean, electrically-powered elevated monorail and maglev transit and are therefore advocating the following:

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Elevated Monorail for transit in and around Austin at speeds up to 55 MPH above traffic and accidents.

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Elevated Maglev in the I-35 corridor from Austin to San Antonio for transit at speeds exceeding 300 MPH.

Why Monorail?

 Austin needs and deserves a better solution! Monorails have significant advantages over light rail. We list many of the advantages below. However, Capital Metro in  its Austin Rapid Transit Project rated Monorail last out of six proposals. We believe that this study is flawed. For a detailed analysis of why we believe this is flawed, click here.

To understand 'Why Monorail?', see our Monorail Slide Presentation (7.5 MB .pdf)

Monorail Advantages

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Monorails do not interfere with surface traffic Being elevated, monorails do not interfere with surface traffic. Monorails glide over traffic instead of having to stop for traffic. Nor are they interfered with by surface traffic. Which would you rather choose to get to work on time?

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Monorails are environmentally friendly- Being electrically powered, monorails are non-polluting. Most run on rubber tires and are quiet.

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Monorails are safe- Because they are elevated, accidents with surface traffic are impossible. Unlike light rail, monorails cannot derail.

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Monorails are proven technology- Monorails are proven people-movers. Bombardier MVI monorails carry over 150,000 passengers per day at the Walt  Disney World resort. Other companies such as Hitachi and others also produce medium to high capacity monorail transit systems.

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Monorails may be automated- Unlike light rail, monorails may be automated and may not require drivers. Light rail systems operate at a loss and require public subsidy money. A large portion of the operating expense must be paid to vehicle operators. Monorails offer the opportunity to become automated, thus eliminating this expense.  In fact, many monorails such as the Tokyo and Seattle monorails turn a profit each year. Because light rail operates at surface level, light rail will never offer the option of being automated and therefore will always have to be subsidized by the taxpayer.

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Monorails can be aesthetic- Monorail stations may be incorporated into buildings and can conform to local architectural styles. Support pylons may be enhanced with marble or granite in sensitive areas or decorated with greenery. Monorails have narrow support beams (narrower than the monorail vehicles) and cast only a small footprint. Unlike light rail, there are no ugly overhead wires.

Who Are We?

The Austin Monorail Project is a non-profit organization which believes that:

  1. The citizens of Austin want more mobility, not less mobility;

  2. Monorail should be the preferred rapid transit solution for Austin because elevated Monorail offers more mobility for the citizens of Austin, not less mobility;

  3. Monorail rapid transit will provide this mobility above and beyond that provided by the automobile, not at the expense of the automobile. Current City of Austin and Cap Metro plans  will remove commute choices by 'calming traffic' through the removal of street lanes. Elevated Monorail will restore those commuting choices by offering Austin residents the choice to  'opt-out' of the traffic congestion below and yet maintain the same automobile roadway capacity as before;

  4. Elevated Monorail can spur economic development along the rapid transit line as well as or better than light rail. Because Monorail has higher average speed than light rail, it has the ability to attract higher ridership and connect dense city destinations clustered about the Monorail stations with the distant suburbs more effectively;

  5. Because Monorail frees up street space instead of occupying street space, Monorail is a natural fit with Austin's proposed 'Great Streets' program. Monorail will leave more street space available that can now be used for sidewalk cafe's on enlarged sidewalks and bike lanes. If rapid transit were elevated by Monorail, the City could conceivably dedicate more North-South roadway, such as along Guadalupe, to bicycles.

  6. Our purpose is to educate the citizens of Austin about Monorail as a superior rapid transit solution. Join Us! Discuss monorail for Austin in our Yahoo! Groups: Austin Monorail Discussion Group!

United States Monorail Projects

Look for the latest updates on the Seattle,  Las Vegas and other United States Monorails here.

 
bullet Pinellas County Mobility Initiative
bullet The Seattle Monorail Project
bullet Las Vegas Monorail Official Site
bullet Las Vegas Monorail Fact Sheet (.pdf)
bullet Las Vegas Monorail Final Environmental Impact Statement

 

Maglev Projects/ Technology

 
bullet Transrapid-USA
bullet The Maglev 2000 of Florida Corporation
bullet American Maglev
bullet The Pennsylvania Project - High Speed Maglev
bullet The Baltimore-Washington Maglev Project
bullet Atlanta Chattanooga Maglev
bullet Maglev Monorail index page (The Monorail Society)

Our Sponsors

If you'd like to become one of our corporate sponsors, please click here.

What is Our Position on Commuter Rail / Bus Rapid Transit?

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We believe that commuter rail will move some number of people from Cedar Park and Leander into the center of Austin but will do little to relieve congestion in Austin itself.

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Although the commuter rail diesel technology is touted as becoming cleaner (with most sulfur being legislated out of diesel fuel by 2007), diesel still produces large amounts of nitrous oxides (NOX). We need to ourselves become more educated on this subject, but prefer to see electric mass-transit vehicles run instead of diesel.

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We believe that Bus Rapid Transit will not truly be rapid unless it can operate in its own dedicated lane. The ability of the rapid bus to automatically change traffic lights to green will be of little use if it is stuck in traffic behind several automobiles.

Upcoming Events

February 2005: No meeting this month.

Please join us in March at our new location (to be posted).

 

Purchase Monorail videos direct from the The Monorail Society

Why not Monorail? VHS Video Monorails of Japan DVD set

What's New?

7/25/04:  New! The Houston Chronicle discusses monorail as a possible solution for Metro to study. "Monorail a Big Hit in Vegas, but Here?":  HoustonChronicle.com - Vegas monorail offers option for Metro to study

3/30/04: The Houston Chronicle  has created a Crash log map (with photos) of all the accidents associated with their new light rail line. Is Austin next? We believe that this is what is in store for Austin if light rail is eventually approved. You heard it here first.

3/29/04: Photos of our recent outreach effort at the 2004 Travis County Democratic Convention.

3/18/04: Dynamic Austin Monorail route map here and Dynamic Monorails of the World Map here. Thanks to Tony Eklund for programming of these maps.

2/10/04: New single page flyer in .pdf format:  Common Monorail Myths vs. Facts (updated 2/12/04)

1/22/04: Houston Metro officials are so concerned about accidents with the new light rail line that they are planning to leave the trains idle during evening festivities, according to the Wall Street Journal. Imagine leaving a public transit system idle during the peak periods when the public is most likely to want transportation!

"The sleek new trains were involved in minor accidents with automobiles five times during testing and once since the official opening at the start of the year. Local leaders were so eager to avoid accidents during Super Bowl weekend they coughed up $110,000 in public money for a barrier along four downtown blocks. They also intend to leave the trains idle downtown during evening festivities". - WSJ, 1/22/04.


12/05/03: According to Ben Wear of the Statesman, "Capital Metro is investing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in a freight line that is losing millions of dollars every year." Is this so that Capital Metro can run passenger rail on the tracks? Read Ben Wear's article in the Statesman, 'Capital Metro carrying the freight' . If passenger rail does pass, add the $35.6 million dollar cost of this 'stealth' upgrade to  Capital Metro's 'announced' passenger rail cost next year.

11/29/03: New Article: Report on Capital Metro's recent update on their proposed routes.  Part 1 of our Capital Metro Update comments on their proposed Rapid Bus Transit route. Part 2 (upcoming) will comment on their proposed commuter rail route.

11/25/03: The Baltimore-Washington Maglev Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is now available on their website. Educate yourself about Modern Maglev technology by reading this document. Enjoy!

11/17/03: We submitted a letter to the editor in favor of Maglev to the Statesman and an expanded version later to the Chronicle. It was never printed. We encourage readers with similar views to write a letter to the Editor of the Statesman or the Chronicle in favor of Maglev. We have also emailed the same basic letter to the Mayor and City Council. We encourage you to also make your views known to them.

11/06/03: We favor high-speed Maglev for inter-city transit, such as between Austin and San Antonio and traditional Monorail for intra-city transit. Look soon for a new page showcasing Maglev technology and why it is a superior solution for the Austin-San Antonio commuter rail corridor.  To get started, here is a Maglev FAQ from the The Pennsylvania Project - High Speed Maglev website.

We will also be posting our new page on our upcoming  Monorail/Maglev conference very soon.

We have also slightly updated our Links page to include some Maglev resources. Look for a significantly updated links page soon.

10/26/03: Added links on our Links Page to Cascadia Monorail Company and Team Monorail, two teams specifically formed to compete for the design/build/operate/maintain (DBOM) contract of the Seattle Monorail Project.

10/24/03: The Truth About Monorail Capital Construction Costs (Part 1): NOT $150 Million a Mile

For Older News: please see our News Archive page.