VNEconomyNews.com - Hanoi needs an overhead tramcar route to reduce gridlock, but transportation experts should weigh the benefits of a mono or double rail.
Vietnam Construction Import-Export Corporation (Vinaconex) has recently submitted a plan to build a monorail route in Hanoi to deal with traffic jams in the western areas. The route will run overhead from Hoang Hoa Tham to Van Cao – Nguyen Chi Thanh – Tran Duy Hung to the end of Lang-Hoa Lac highway, totaling 38 kilometers.
According to Vinaconex, the project developer, a monorail is appropriate for Hanoi because it doesn’t require large space. The train can run through buildings by overpasses or underground. Ticket prices will be low, affordable for government employees, students, and others.
The monorail was chosen because one kilometer is estimated at only $8 million of investment capital compared to $40-50 million for one kilometer of normal railway. Transportation analysts stress, however, that the monorail capacity is lower than a normal rail system.
Phan Le Binh, a senior expert from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), noted that , in Japan, mono and double rails are very popular. Monorail trains can carry 50-60 passengers per carriage, compared to 100 for double rail trains. He maintained that the monorail’s advantage is low investment capital and suitability for short distances and small cities where traffic circulation is small.
Dao Ngoc Nghiem, Hanoi Architecture Planning Association Vice-Chair, has supported the monorail project. He noted that Hoa Lac will become a satellite town with 600,000 people, so a monorail route from the center city is necessary. An overhead monorail is a good choice for a distance of 40km through a populated area.
Khuat Viet Hung, deputy director of the Institute for Traffic Planning and Management, has worried that it would be a waste to build an overhead monorail route from Hoa Lac because Hanoi plans a rapid bus route on this road. He speculated that passengers may choose the rapid bus rather than the monorail because of lower fares. In addition, the capacity of the rapid buses will be higher than monorail.
According to Hung, the city should build an overhead double rail route because they can run faster and can carry more passengers.
Nguyen Manh Hung, Vietnam Car Transport Association Chair, welcomed the idea of constructing overhead rail routes, but he stressed that Hanoi should carefully research the number of passengers to make appropriate investment plans.