With regards to the early morning incident involving the monorail system at Walt Disney World I thought it would be only prudent to explain the monorail’s safety features, for those who remain unclear of the protocols that were in place at the time of the accident.
Beyond that, I would like to issue this warning to those of you seeking information about this morning’s occurrence. There is currently video circulating through various news and community websites, with no warnings as to the nature of the content, which shows the two monorails immediately after the collision. The video is extremely difficult and disturbing to watch as it is made apparent quickly into the video that the driver, now identified as Austin Wenneberg, is still onboard. It is the Main Street Gazette's opinion that such film should not be shown or viewed.
Mapo is the term used to refer to the monorail’s safety system, the moving blocklight system. Each monorail piloting console uses a three light MAPO warning system (green, amber, red) for the pilots to gauge their current location in relation to the monorail in front of them. The various lines that the monorails run along are broken up into sections known as blocks, and each block is between 500 to 1000 feet long. The MAPO system requires three or more blocks of space between two monorails for a green signal, two block denotes an amber signal, and a red signal is raised when the front monorail is only one block away.
When a red MAPO signal has been indicated, the train’s onboard computer immediately applies the emergency brakes and shuts out a pilot’s ability to move the monorail until the monorail in front of it reaches a safe following distance. Any pilot who receives three red MAPO signals is removed from their ability to pilot a monorail.
While an override switch is available to pilots, the monorail’s top speed is locked at fifteen miles per hour while the override in engaged. Generally override is only used for safety tests and inspections, a change in the monorail’s line via the spur line, or due to a monorail beam’s power failure.
Each train goes through a safety assessment of its MAPO system each day.