Mono Rail project, a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), has been mooted for the State capital as part of a long-term and economical solution to the transportation problems of city residents. The project will help minimise personalised modes of transport.

The arterial corridor connecting Kazhakuttam, Ulloor, M.G. Road, Karamana, and Balaramapuram covering a distance of 28 km has been identified for the introduction of the system in the first phase taking into account the pattern and volume of traffic.

Initially, the 12-km stretch from Kochulloor to Karamana has been mooted, followed by other stretches.

A link to Vizhinjam has also been suggested in view of the proposed international container transshipment project.

Highly placed sources told The Hindu that the government was in receipt of the project report.

The 28-km corridor is estimated to cost about Rs.1,500 crore and the Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) of the project is likely to be over 20 per cent, as per the project prepared by former Director of National Transportation Planning and Research Centre and advisor to the government N.S. Srinivasan. After a detailed study, a network of another 60 km has been identified for the introduction of the system in the second and third phases during 2020-2030.

The attempt is aimed at improving mass transportation and increasing its present modal share from about 35 per cent in Thiruvananthapuram to about 60 per cent as recommended by the Union Ministry of Urban Development.

At present, 7,500 passengers move in an hour in one direction in the State capital and this is likely to go up to 15,000 in the next 10 years. Mono Rail can carry 15,000 to 20,000 passengers in an hour in one direction and is best suited for the city. The decrease in dependence on personalised mode of transport once the Mono Rail is introduced will result in bringing down road accidents also. It is estimated that 40 per cent of the present traffic can be taken off the road from the capital city if the new system is introduced.

Advantages

The Mono Rail is most suited for medium-sized cities such as Thiruvananthapuram. The Mono Rail is less expensive to build than a comparable MRTS (underground or elevated) of equal capacity. A Mono Rail will cost only Rs.50 crore a km compared to the Rs.230 crore a km for an underground metro rail.

In a State where land acquisition is the biggest hurdle for development projects, the primary advantage of Mono Rail over conventional rail system is that it requires minimal space, both horizontally and vertically. Mono Rail vehicles are wider than the beam, thus requiring only a minimal footprint for support pillars. Due to smaller footprint they are seen more attractive than the conventional elevated rail line or elevated bus rapid transit

According to transport planners, mono rail being a grade separated system does not interfere with the existing transportation modes. Moreover, this system can be implemented with minimal acquisition of land and relocation of utility services compared to other systems.

Besides being environment friendly, it will be visually attractive and hassle-free ride for citizens.

Funding will not be a problem as international lending agencies would come forward, sources said.

The first Mono Rail project in the country will come up in Mumbai under the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority in 11 km from Jacob Circle to Wadala and nine km from Wadala to Chembur.