The High Road Foundation is proposing an in depth study of Monorail for the 270 corridor, from I-370/Rt 200 (Inter County Connector) north to Frederick.

Further study is required, but the Level 1 study indicates that the system should not require annual public subsidy to operate (O&M). To confirm that indication a Level 2 and higher study needs to be performed. Cost of the Level 2 study has been determined to be approximately $250,000 more than the Level 1 which the Foundation already funded.

In addition to studying the civil engineering of the alignment and determining that no additional ground should be required for its construction, The Foundation commissioned Cambridge Systematics to perform a Level 1 Ridership Study which was completed in March 2019.

Fare structure for the study was assumed in line with existing metro system and exceeded 45,000 riders daily. The Foundation believes these numbers may be low, since the methodology of the study is based on historical transit data, and there simply is no historical Monorail data available for the United States.

The system alignment is approximately 22 miles long, and the average hard construction cost of a monorail is approximately $150 million a mile. It can be more, and costs are rising. This is simply an order of magnitude.

The intriguing element of a construction cost study for Monorail is that the cost can be budgeted within 90% of actual, by simply knowing Point A and Point B. The system is pre-manufactured off site and erected. The only variability in the alignment is the height of the piers which is the only effect of topography.

Free standing station designs can be utilized over and over, not requiring a complete civil engineering re-work because of topography. Bridges are of no consequence, since the entire structure is a bridge and can be moved from one side of a right of way to the other at will.

Many stations can be built inside new mixed-use commercial buildings, if the station location is vacant or in a state of being re-developed, as are Five (5) of the station sites  that are proposed for the alignment. Potentially the cost of the system can be further reduced by allowing the owners of those station sites to develop densely enough to provide the station at no cost to the System.

The Foundation has assembled a team that has been studying the alignment for 2 years. A full economic analysis is in process based on the completion of the Level 1 study in March.

Stay tuned.