In case anybody thought that I was overwhelmingly down on monorails in this post, I would like to make clear that I see them as a perfectly valid transportation choice, but that they have no special advantages that put them significantly above subways or light rail technology.
I think that the pros and cons of monorail technology can be summarized in the following ways:
Monorails can carry large number of people at considerable speeds, reliably and effectively. So can subways. So can light rail.
Monorails are 99.99% safe, because they operate completely independent of traffic. So are subways.
Monorails can operate automatically, throwing at least one driver out of work and saving the transit agency his wage. Light rail vehicles can't do this, but subways can.
Monorails provide effective rapid transit at moderate cost, roughly $100 million per kilometre in Canadian funds. Subways do that too. Light rail, however, can be built for as low as $20 million per kilometre.
Monorails are the technology of the future, just like flying cars.
Subways and light rail are the technology that works just fine, and can't be substantially improved upon.
The monorail is appropriate for Seattle because the city is sandwiched between two large bodies of water and has no rail rapid transit to speak of. Its dense and congested downtown offers little opportunities for light rail, and expensive prospects for tunneling. The temptation to go above grade is obvious. These conditions are not a factor in Toronto.
Here's a short article comparing and contrasting the Seattle and Las Vegas monorails.
Carnival of the Canucks: Stepping Up to the Plate
This Tuesday, I'll be hosting the Carnival of the Canucks, posting links and highlighting what's new and cool in the Canadian blogosphere. I expect I'll be going through my blogroll and Blogs Canada's Blog Directory for links, but I am more than happy to accept suggestions.
I've created an e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org specifically for the Carnival. This way, I can publicize the address and link to it and avoid the spam that's sure to follow. I've already received my first suggestions, and thank you. Thanks in advance to all who contact me.