Annex 1 International Case Studies

Tokyo, Japan – Barrier-free Pedestrian Facility Development Measures

In Tokyo Metropolitan Region, the number of elderly has been increasing year by year as well as the number of accidents involving them. Under this condition, the Metropolitan Government placed emphasis on transport safety for the elderly in the Transport Safety Promotion Plan of Tokyo Metropolitan Region of Fiscal Year 2006. In this Plan, they explained various barrier-free pedestrian facility development measures not only for the elderly, but also for the handicapped or mobility disadvantaged. Funding is from multiple authorities within the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Regional Development Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan.

One of the measures is development of barrier-free footpaths. For this measure, sidewalk widening alongside arterial roads (7.9km) and other main roads (7.8km) was proposed utilizing a budget of over US$10 billion in order to increase sidewalks which wheelchair users and elderly could proceed along comfortably. Depending on the availability of the road space, some parts of the sidewalks are planned to have sufficient width for two wheelchairs to go by each other. Also, they proposed budgets for development of pedestrian bridges, including installation of lifting devices or ramps for wheelchair users. Tactile colored surfacing for visually impaired pedestrians was added on sidewalks to the extent of 2.8km.


Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Police Dept
Figure 7 Acoustic Device on
Pedestrian Signal

Another measure was improvement of pedestrian signals and installation of lighting. Although many pedestrian signals in Japan have an acoustic device (with a melody to alert visually impaired pedestrians of the green signal after they push a button), many are yet to be installed. In addition, many have not been developed to have a green signal extension to provide more time for the elderly or handicapped to cross. Within the Fiscal Year 2006, an additional 100 acoustic devices and 25 green signal extension devices were proposed as well as 220 lighting improvements in the Tokyo Metropolitan Region.

The government has also focused on the promotion of barrier-free footpaths connecting underground or elevated railway stations/platforms to ground level footpaths so as to improve usability of public transport system for elderly and handicapped. In Tokyo Metropolitan Region, though 2nd level or underground pedestrian areas around many railway stations have been developed, not all of them have installed escalators and elevators. Within 2006, the government has funded elevator installations or improvements at 37 private railway stations and escalators at 7 stations, as well as installation of 40 elevators and 13 escalators at the stations of Tokyo Metropolitan Transport Authority.


Source: Social Welfare
Corporation Minato
Municipality Volunteer Center

Figure 8 Double Handrail

In addition, they subsidized installation of additional tactile colored surfacing for visually impaired pedestrians, double handrails for both visually impaired pedestrians and wheelchair users, and larger public toilets for wheelchair users at the railway stations of not only public transport authorities, but also private railway companies.

Furthermore, the Metropolitan Government identified four municipalities as those to develop local universal design project models (of Fiscal Year 2006) and then funded them. Within the four municipalities, routes around major railway stations and those connecting institutions for the elderly or handicapped to stations were defined as priority routes. The development measures consisted of improvement of pedestrian signals, increase in pedestrian crossings, and installment of stop signs for pedestrian safety on the priority routes. The significant advantage of such local projects was to improve facilities considering local demanded networks and consistency with local traffic regulations in each area, under cooperation with each municipality.

Source: Transport Safety Promotion Plan of Tokyo Metropolitan Region of Fiscal Year 2006

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