Annex 1 International Case Studies

Tokyo, Japan – Safe Bicycle Riding Promotion Plan

The Tokyo Metropolitan Region has a population of 12.8 million and the number of bicycles owned is 8.4 million, which equates to 1 out of 1.5 persons owning a bicycle. Those bicycles are used for various purposes including shopping, commuting, working, leisure and exercises. Some trips by bicycle are from origins to final destinations while others are from origins to transport hubs, such as railway stations. In the Central Tokyo Metropolis, consisting of 23 wards, the modal share of bicycle itself is 8%, and that of the combination of bicycle and public transport (e.g. railway) is also 8%, so 16% of trips contain the bicycle mode (Census 2000).

This relatively high bicycle usage has contributed to reducing the environmental burden and traffic congestion caused by motorized transport modes, not only by taking short trips, but also by promoting public transport usage for longer trips through easy access at hubs. In Tokyo Metropolitan Region, bicycle parking facilities have been developed around most of the heavy rail stations to encourage such trip patterns.

Despite the above, the environment to promote appropriate bicycle usage is still in the process of development and requires a number of factors to be improved. For example, although some stations allow bicycle parking facilities nearby, others keep them a little far away (e.g. 300m from the station), which generates illegal parking of bicycles on the street close to the stations. Another issue is that the proportion of bicycle path length to road length in Japan is lower than other (western) developed countries. This causes a mixture of bicycle use with motorized vehicles on roads, which causes traffic accidents.

With those issues in mind, Tokyo Metropolitan Government formulated the “Safe Bicycle Riding Promotion Plan” in January 2007. This plan includes four main measures as follows:

  • Reducing illegally-parked bicycles
  • Developing bicycle paths
  • Improving bicycle traffic manners
  • Improving bicycle mechanics

Under these measures, the Metropolitan Government has been conducting actions for each area one by one, considering different situations of various areas in Tokyo, cooperating with other stakeholders.

Regarding reduction of illegally-parked bicycles, the Metropolitan Government has been promoting the provision of parking facilities in the areas close to the stations under cooperation with railway companies. Responding to their request, many railway companies have provided land for those facilities or developed parking areas by themselves. Some of them, who do not have appropriate land on the ground level, have offered underground land within the station square or other station facilities. In addition, taking advantage of the Road Law revised in 2005, which allows development of bicycle parking facilities on public roads, the Metropolitan Government has been promoting development of facilities on wider public roads and sidewalks nearby the stations to reduce illegally-parked bicycles randomly occupying narrow sidewalks.

Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan

Figure 1 Bicycle Parking on Public Highway Land


Another approach of the government is to promote development of multilevel bicycle parking tower on or under ground for effective utilization of the land in areas in front of the stations or commercial areas where land value is high.

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Figure 2 Image of Underground Multilevel Bicycle Parking at Kasai Station, Tokyo


The Municipal Government has also been implementing segregated paths to promote bicycle usage by creating a safe and convenient environment for bicycle users. Though the most appropriate method is to provide exclusive paths for the three categories of transport modes (pedestrian, bicycle and motorized road transport), whose speeds are different, it is not easy to do so on all roads due to the restrictive road widths in Tokyo. Subsequently, the government considers use of either existing sidewalks or vehicular roads to locate new bicycle paths.

Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan

Figure 3 Image of Exclusive Bicycle Path


Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan

Figure 4 Bicycle Path on Sidewalk


The metropolitan government is now considering regulation of vehicular traffic on roads around railway stations by prohibiting entry of motorized vehicles or restricting them to one-way routes especially during peak hours. This approach promotes bicycle usage and walking by securing the safety of pedestrians and bicycle users as well as reducing traffic congestion on the routes for non motorized transport.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to develop bicycle paths as an entire bicycle network and provide a cycle network map in each major area of Tokyo to promote bicycle use.

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Figure 5 Image of Motorized Traffic Regulation during peak hours

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Figure 6 Bicycle Path Provided by Restricting Vehicles to One-way Route

For the improvement of bicycle traffic manners, the government is revising educational curriculums and regulations. Also, they have been developing systems to improve safety of bicycle mechanics, including a security symbol system for bicycles. This plan was approved in 2007 to improve and promote bicycle usage, after when each municipality adopted it. Though it is too early to evaluate the impact of this plan, it is considered an effective policy measure.

Source: Safe Bicycle Riding Promotion Plan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, January 2007

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