In Japan, the first urban straddle type monorail system, Tokyo Monorail, was put into operation in 1964. Since then, four more monorail systems have been constructed with the active participation of Hitachi in Kitakyushu, Osaka, Tama, and Okinawa. The straddle type monorail can be constructed using the space above public roads without disturbing everyday traffic. Monorail trains with rubber tires are environmentally friendly and produce little noise and vibration. The straddle type monorail has become an important part of the urban public transportation system, chiefly because of its many advantages over other transportation means including the subway. These advantages include (1) improved environment, (2) a shorter construction period, and (3) lower costs. Thus, the monorail system in Japan is an effective solution to environmental problems and traffic congestion in urban cities, which also stimulates local economy. The demand for urban monorail systems has recently begun to come from smaller local cities where the daily ridership is much lower than that in Tokyo, Osaka, Kitakyushu, and other major cities in Japan. To enhance the financial viability of monorail construction in smaller cities and to construct smaller monorails, the Japan Monorail Association (JMA) set up a research committee to investigate the development of a small monorail. This committee, mainly headed by Hitachi, carried out comprehensive research of the market demand for monorail systems and initiated the development of a compact monorail. Hitachi developed a number of new design elements including an articulated bogie to enable trains to negotiate sharp curves. We also worked to design a compact and light monorail that makes use of next-generation signal systems. These basic elements can also be used for other people-mover systems in amusement parks, airports, and business complexes.

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Published on 01/01/2005

Volume 2005, 2005
DOI: 10.1061/40766(174)65
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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