FutureStructure

Could a Monorail Alleviate L.A. Congestion?

In a recent radio interview, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti brought up the idea of building a monorail system to divert traffic away from the Southern California nightmare — aka the 405 freeway.

by / June 19, 2017
Disneyland Resort's Monorail flickr/Brett Kiger

To help reduce congestion on the dreaded 405 freeway in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti is willing to look at all the options. In a recent interview with KNX-AM, he suggested a monorail system that could run alongside the corridor.

Because the route crosses the Sepulveda Pass, traditional rail cars aren’t able to handle the climb in elevation. However, “monorails can, and they can go at about the same speed as railcars,” Garcetti said.

More generally associated with Disneyland and The Simpsons, monorails are typically lighter, easier to build than traditional mass-transit trains and on an elevated single rail. Monorails generally carry fewer people than subways or other light or heavy trains, and are less standardized, which can create more confusion and complications around possible car switching.

During the interview, Garcetti commented on BYD Motors, a Chinese electric car and bus company. According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles provided more than $1.5 million in federal funding for the company to open its North American headquarters in the city. According to Bloomberg, BYD has been pitching its monorails to gridlocked cities.

Garcetti said the BYD monorail system is both cheaper and better suited to endure inevitable earthquakes.

Los Angeles home of the worst traffic in the country, recently committed to raising $120 billion with voters approving Measure M, a sales tax increase. The measure sets aside funds to transform transportation across all of L.A. county, including the Sepulveda Pass.

Metro has not begun researching the “alternatives analysis” for the project, which will include a more detailed examination of several options for connecting the Valley to the Westside.