Monorail Mania

Out of the future and into "Sin City", the long-awaited Las Vegas Monorail system is closer to becoming a reality than ever. A driverless state-of-the-art urban public transportation system, the project is now more than 80 percent complete, according to the Las Vegas Monorail Company. Once complete, the system will operate on a four-mile route along the east side of the famous Las Vegas Strip, connecting eight major resorts, more than 24,700 hotel rooms, and nine convention facilities.

One of the highlights of the system's first phase will be the connecting station at the MGM Grand hotel, designed by YWS Architects, Las Vegas.

Designed to serve as a secondary entrance to the hotel, the connector provided many design challenges. YWS worked closely with Bombardier Total Transportation Systems and the Las Vegas Monorail Company to create a welcoming experience for people leaving the station and entering the MGM, which was not as simple as you might expect.

"We faced a number of design challenges on this project", explains Tom Wucherer, one of three Principals at YWS. "We had to work around existing guideways and tracks and figure out how to get people from between the tracks, down under the tracks, and into the MGM".

Phase 1 of the project is scheduled to open in early 2004, in time to accommodate the annual influx of visitors during Super Bowl week.

YWS is also working closely with BTTS (Bombardier Total Transportation Systems) and the Las Vegas Monorail Company to create a connector for people entering the MGM from the monorail station.