Green Solutions to Transportation Challenges
Monorail system development, operation and manufacturing processes are environmentally superior to all other forms and modes of transportation, by every measure. And, monorails can be built and operated virtually anywhere without imposing the negative and disruptive impacts characteristic of other transportation vehicles and systems. Every environmental measure, impact or urban condition that traditional transportation systems either improve or degrade can be consistently enhanced and outperformed by monorails. From manufacturing, fabrication and construction through daily operation, monorail systems are the most efficient, safest and least environmentally damaging of any transportation mode or type.
A review of mitigation measures required for development of automobile, bus and all forms of rail transportation systems would reveal a wide range of developmental requirements and operational limitations imposed on system implementation that are simply not necessary or required of monorail system development. By virtue of their nearly silent operation, and their complete separation from all other forms of transportation, environmental settings and pedestrians, monorails need not include the multimillion dollar sound walls, crossing gates, barricades, grade separations, sound-deadening roadbeds, restricted operating schedules, warning bells, horns, flashing lights, extensive property acquisition and condemnation, constriction of streets and highways, tunneling and other impact-mitigating measures required of virtually all other types of transportation system development and operation. The elegance of monorail systems extends to their manufacturing and construction processes; which significantly reduce environmental impacts, pollution, street closings and wasting of valuable resources, while producing the most efficient and sustainable operation of any transportation mode.
Environmental impact study, assessment and mitigation planning required of all transportation facility and system development can take years to complete, and generally delays selection of preferred routes and design of systems, pending legal review and approval of Environmental Impact Statements and Reports. Monorail system technology and development can be established as so fundamentally free of the typical negative impacts of existing transportation system development and operation that rigorous environmental assessment and evaluation processes may be minimized; potentially cutting months or years from initial phases of new projects.
On a larger scale, application of comprehensive urban growth controls, as related to global warming initiatives such as California’s greenhouse gas-limiting legislation, will have to integrate efficient transportation systems into new development if any substantial reduction and mitigation of urban areas’ greatest sources of pollution and greenhouse gasses are to be effectively managed. While current rail, bus and highway systems, and the respective vehicles that operate in them are the primary source of air pollution and a wide range of negative environmental conditions prevalent in urban settings, it is not reasonable to presume that these same transportation systems can be redesigned and employed to significantly reduce their negative impacts on existing or future urban developments or metropolitan areas. The unique qualities and capabilities of monorail systems and technologies offer the only fundamental transportation alternatives to current systems, planning practices and urban environments.
The Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning and the County Board of Supervisors may be forced to postpone review and approval of any redesign of the Regional Planning Department’s Santa Clarita Valley Area Plan to comply with California’s vaguely specified restrictions on urban areas’ contributions to global warming greenhouse gasses. Indeed, it may take state environmental regulators years to develop targets and guidelines specific enough to shape land use and development planning, while development plans and projects languish in undefined regulatory limbo. Short of completely reconfiguring the suburb of 250,000 into a dense urban setting built around mass transit stations and corridors, changes in Santa Clarita’s development patterns will have limited effect in reducing the demand and congestion that persist in travel between Santa Clarita and greater Los Angeles. With present highway, freeway and rail links operating at, and beyond their optimal capacities, expansion or extension of existing transportation systems would be prohibitively expensive, and of limited impact on the area’s extensive, yet overloaded transportation networks. Monorail systems and technology offer the only practical alternatives and solutions to environmental and functional dilemmas facing existing and developing urban areas.
Monorail systems and services can enhance and support conditions typically used as quality of life measures; including significantly reduced noise, pollution, traffic congestion, collision hazards, incompatible development and other disruptive impacts, while providing increased mobility, shortened travel times, energy efficiency, economic stimulus and stability to urban areas and local communities. The strategic advantages of monorails derive from their abilities to present superior alternatives to current transportation systems and services. Monorail guide ways and facilities can be adapted to existing freeway, highway and railroad rights of way, or introduced into settings including flood control channels, riverbanks, utility rights of way, landscaped buffers and medians, parks, open spaces and the grounds of public and institutional facilities where other forms and modes of transportation would be impractical or disruptive; to operate at levels of energy efficiency, emissions, noise and safety unattainable by any other transportation system or mode of travel.