Proposed Maryland Monorail is 'Feasible' but Not Very Effective, Study Says

The MDOT study found that the monorail line would draw many of its riders from existing public transit systems.

March 5, 2021, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

A recent study by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) found that a proposed monorail line would be a "viable" but not optimal option for reducing traffic on the Interstate 270 corridor. "The corridor," reports Katherine Shaver in the Washington Post, "is Montgomery’s hub for biotech companies, and the highway carries commuters between more affordable homes in farther-out suburbs and jobs in Montgomery, Washington and Northern Virginia."

The $4.4-billion monorail project would cut the 28-mile trip between Frederick and the Shady Grove Metro station to 42-46 minutes, but the study projects that one fifth to one third of riders would come from other transit systems rather than from private vehicles. "More development would have to be clustered around potential station sites to generate ridership, and motorists would need a 'behavioral shift' to switch to mass transit, the study said."

Proponents of the monorail argue that the study's ridership estimates are too conservative and that, if funded, the project would nevertheless be a positive step toward more efficient public transit in the region. "MDOT spokeswoman Erin Henson said the agency will seek feedback on the feasibility study from Montgomery and Frederick counties and see whether either includes a monorail in its annual letter, expected this spring, outlining local transportation funding priorities."

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in The Washington Post

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