Any system that would hope to address the issues regarding the state of public transport in Malta would need to connect primary hubs quickly and efficiently, while maintaining a good degree of connectivity to the remote areas via secondary infrastructures, giving them the required access to the larger hubs and main network.
The major problem with the current public transport system (and bicycle lanes) is that it shares the road infrastructure with private vehicles. This is a nuisance to private car drivers and aggravates the congestion problem because public buses move slower, are harder to overtake, and sometimes block roads while taking on passengers. From the buses' point of view, traffic is a major obstacle to providing a punctual and competitive means of transport.
Studies have shown that certain roads and junctions reach saturation point during rush hour periods. Junctions may be redesigned and roads widened to improve flow to relieve acutely congested areas. However, Malta's dense urban fabric as well as frequent sites of archaeological or natural importance complicate these operations. The ongoing introduction of bus lanes on existing roads shows that improvements to the road infrastructure are possible and can be very cost effective for buses. On the other hand, the short and problematic use of accordion or "bendy-buses" between 2011 and 2013 indicate that introducing light rail on to road infrastructure would be probably be problematic.
The ideal grade-separated solution would be a combined over-ground and underground system that would connect to urban hubs at their core, while emerging above ground in less densely populated areas to cut costs. One way of reducing the cost of a grade-separated hybrid would be by using light rail technology. Elevated light rail (similar to London's DLR), however, would require a much wider supporting structure; making it unfit for the compact Maltese urban fabric.
Given this predicament, supported by case studies and other research, the authors believe that an over-ground monorail could pass through areas which are less sensitive and may be combined with a road-level feeding infrastructure more suited to dense urban fabric.