The Istanbul Municipality has announced monorail projects on eight routes in the latest bid to relieve the city's heavily congested traffic.
Two tenders were already launched for two routes on Istanbul's Asian and European sides and the projects were included in the five-year budget of the municipality.
Separate monorail lines will have a length of over 47 kilometers on both sides of the city divided by the Bosporus Strait.
Newly announced routes include one between Beyoğlu and Şişli district, Zincirlikuyu-Sarıyer district, 4.Levent and Levent district, Ataşehir and Ümraniye district, Sefaköy and Atatürk Airport, Maltepe and Başıbüyük district, Kartal and D-100 highway and Sabiha Gökçen Airport and Istanbulpark.
The first routes to be completed will likely be the Üsküdar-Libadiye line and the Sefaköy-Başakşehir line as their tenders were launched first.
Tentatively called Havaray (air rail), the monorail project will carry 200,000 passengers every day in a city of over 14 million.
Plans to introduce two more monorail lines in the near future are also in the pipeline for the municipality.
The monorail line will be integrated with other mass transit vehicles including the metrobus and subway, facilitating travel for Istanbul residents across the relatively small but heavily populated city. Traveling time between two stops of the monorail is planned to be two minutes.
Minibuses are expected to be abolished by the municipality following the implementation of the monorail project. The minibus, a common form of public transport in Istanbul and other cities, especially on narrow streets that large buses cannot access, is a potentially fatal threat due to the reckless behavior of the drivers.
Widely used in Europe, Japan and China, the monorail, will be able to carry at least 40,000 passengers daily, while larger ones have a capacity of 200,000 passengers.
Istanbul, located at the intersection of two continents, suffers from horrible traffic. An average trip between two locations, particularly during rush hours, often takes more than half of the average travel time during trips at times of lesser traffic. Heavy traffic is attributed to insufficient road infrastructure in the city that is unable to cope with the ever-increasing number of vehicles that grows along with the rising population. Authorities are seeking to decrease traffic congestion by adding more means of mass transit and urging motorists to use them instead of single-occupant cars.