It appears that only those transit services capable of permitting drivers or commuters to forego, or own one less vehicle, can offer an attractive alternative form of mobility to urban drivers. This would provide a double benefit to drivers, by significantly reducing the expenses of operating, maintaining and financing their personal vehicles, while relieving commuters of the effects and expenses associated with traffic congestion. Any significant relief of congestion on highways, freeways and local streets would have generalized positive impacts along commuter routes, and potentially throughout communities.
Monorail systems and services are focused on commuters, particularly those in single occupant vehicles, in offering attractive alternative transportation to 15-25% of the hundreds of thousands of drivers commuting along freeway corridors between their suburban homes and workplace destinations; and to drivers moving between cross-town urban centers. Diversion of one fifth of the million-plus vehicle trips per day in California’s largest cities to monorails could literally remove hundreds of thousands of vehicles from urban streets and freeways, while generating millions of dollars in fare income per day that would provide ample financial support for operations and debt service associated with construction and implementation of the monorail systems.
The extent to which monorail services can provide attractive, efficient and cost-effective transportation systems as alternatives to automobile use in urban environments will determine the nature of the mobility of urban populations, and the impacts of mass transportation systems on the cities they serve. The sustainability of these systems would be determined by a balanced, mutually supportive relationship among the financial, environmental and functional performance of monorail systems in their respective service areas and urban settings.