In 2007, the Las Vegas Monorail aided in the annual removal of an estimated 3.2 million vehicle miles from Southern Nevadas major roadways and reduced emissions by more than 58 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) over the course of the year. Multiply that by many monorails and you can imagine the positive results.
Station architecture can be easily designed to match the surrounding environment. This is the Sydney Monorail City Centre Station, which was hidden inside a downtown shopping center. The quiet sound of monorail allows unlimited possibilities for station locations. Stations can be built to any architectural style to blend with the area.
This is the interior of the Oasis Shopping Centre in Broadbeach, Australia. The skylighted multi-story hall looks typical at first glance. The architect has cleverly blended a monorail track into the top level of the center. Von Roll trains glide through so quietly that shopping patrons often don't even notice their presence.
This is another view of the Oasis Shopping Centre Monorail in Australia. Pylons for the monorail track are also important structural elements of the building. This kind of blending of function is easily accomplished because monorail supports can vary greatly in design.
This is the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World. Who would think that a monorail station could be placed at the entrance of the premier hotel of the area? The building seen to the left is the station. The architecture is Victorian and blends perfectly with the hotel's theme. Look closely and you can see a Bombardier Mark VI train emerging from the structure.
Without the sleek monorail in view, this could look like a train station right out of the early 1900's. It's the Magic Kingdom Station in Walt Disney World, Florida. Located next to the entrance of the park, its architecture has been designed to match that of the nearby Main Street USA. More USA main streets could use monorail.
The alignment space needed for monorail is small but is big enough for landscaping. Shown here is some of the lush landscaping that enhances the route of the Kitakyushu City Monorail in Japan. You can't plant this much vegetation on a street level light rail route without gobbling up more traffic lanes.
One of the best examples of monorail blending with a modern city skyline was found in Sydney, Australia. This station was located above a sidewalk and takes up little space. The tubular design nicely offsets the many squared edges of a modern metropolis.
In several "environmentally sensitive" areas along the Sydney Monorail's route, pylons were enhanced with mirrored panels, reflective metal framing and marble-coated bases. While this may seem to be an extravagant addition, on the whole it didn't add much to the capital cost of the system. However, it does add greatly to the aesthetics of the track.
With some creativity, system designers can make a monorail express a mixture of pleasant moods. Rail transit track doesn't always have to negatively impose itself on an environment, it can also enliven an environment. This track was at Expo '88 in Australia, but the feature of neon lights has been successfully used many times since on monorail guideways.
Monorails can serve in environments outside the city too. The Sentosa Island Monorail has been transporting visitors at this popular tourist destination in Singapore for years. Green pylons and green track ensure that the guideway doesn't impose on the lush tropical surroundings.
Another example of green monorail track through a tropical area was found at Busch Gardens Dark Continent in Tampa, Florida. While this was located in a theme park, it serves as an example of how monorails can be placed in natural settings. Monorail doesn't require a lot of the area to be torn up during construction. Monorails could bring tourists to remote rainforests or other natural wonders in safety and comfort.
Since most monorail trains run above the surface, animals and humans are protected from the injury or death. These camels were used to the Busch Gardens Dark Continent monorails passing overhead. The system was removed for park expansion in 1999.
Garden festivals are popular in Europe. Almost every one in recent years has had a temporary monorail installed to move people around the grounds. This Intamin People Porter Monorail operated at the Stuttgart Garden Festival of 1993. Garden Festival designers attached vines to pylons.
Environmentalists have long sought to be rid of pollution and congestion caused by auto traffic in US National Parks. In 1991 Senator Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming proposed monorail as a possible solution. Unfortunately, the theme park image of monorails doomed the idea from the start. Wildlife and humans would be safer, noise levels would be lower, pollution would be greatly reduced. The track could be painted to blend with the colors of the forest. But even environmentalists scoffed at the idea of "Mickey Mouse transit." Noisy and air polluting automobiles and buses must be the preference, because that's what we continue to have today. (Photo is of Epcot Monorail Line)