Bravo for the monorail article (“The Little Monorail That Could,” 3/7)! Your article highlights an issue that affects everyone living in the Washington region: the need for better transportation planning. Experience shows that government must think outside of the box and start looking at innovative transportation solutions.
In the past 30 years, we’ve spent hundreds of billions nationally on rail systems. The result: Just 2 percent of all trips are by public transportation. Roughly 7 percent of all trips are by walking, with cars making up the remaining 90 percent or so. Even within the Washington area, which claims to have one of the best transit systems in the country, only a very small percentage of all trips is by transit.
Clearly, we need to be smarter in our public-transportation investments. We must insist that projects meet performance standards for cost, ridership, economic development potential, and other factors. We must ensure that innovative technologies, such as monorail and bus rapid transit, be considered on a level playing field with heavy and light rail. Plus, we must insist that public-transportation investment be coupled with appropriate land-use policies.
Once we do these things, we finally might make some progress against congestion and air pollution. We might also get transportation systems that more people will ride.
Breakthrough Technologies Institute