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Old January 21st, 2011, 09:59 AM   #2101
quashlo
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Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Softbank to enable texting, Net access on subway
http://www.japantoday.com/category/t...-subway-trains (Kyōdō News)

Quote:
TOKYO — The Tokyo metropolitan government and Softbank Corp agreed Thursday to enable passengers in moving subway trains to send text messages and access the Internet on their handsets by installing antennas by the end of this year.

Tokyo Metro Co, the other subway train operator in the metropolitan area, said the same day that work for a similar service in its subway system has entered the final stage.

The latest moves reflect growing calls among consumers, including commuters, for cell phone text messaging and online access to be available inside moving subway trains. In Tokyo, cell phone networks are currently accessible at subway stations but not while trains are running between stations.

The agreement came during a meeting between Tokyo Vice Gov Naoki Inose and Softbank President Masayoshi Son at the municipal head office.

During the meeting, Son proposed that e-mail use be enabled in subway trains because doing so would raise people’s productivity. Inose responded that the metropolitan government would consider the proposal to provide greater convenience for subway users.

The Japan Mobile Communications Infrastructure Association, a consortium of 17 companies, including the three major mobile phone service providers—Softbank, NTT Docomo Inc and KDDI Corp—is expected to foot the bill for the installation of antennas in the subway system run by the metropolitan government.

Tokyo Metro, which is 47% owned by the metropolitan government, said in a statement on Thursday that it also thinks it is ‘‘within days of agreement’’ with the group on installing antennas in its subway system for the service.

Noting that he will soon become a director of the consortium and intends to run for the post of deputy chairman of the group, Son said he plans to reach a consensus with other members on realizing the installation of antennas by the end of this year.

Mobile phone signals are often cut off while subway trains are in motion. But in some subway systems, such as those in the cities of Sapporo and Fukuoka, passengers can use e-mail even while trains are running.
Tōkyō MX news report (2011.01.20):



Apparently, the thing started when Son Masayoshi sent out tweets to Tōkyō Prefecture vice-governor Inose Naoki, Nagoya City mayor Kawamura Takashi, and Ōsaka City mayor Hiramatsu Kunio proposing installation of the antennas. According to the video report, Vice-Governor Inose wants to get the system up and running on the Toei Subway by the end of the year (this would mean an accelerated schedule, as the work apparently takes three years normally), and is requesting that Tōkyō Metro also have the antennas installed. The video report also says that the cumulative construction costs for installing similar systems for all subways in Japan is projected to be ¥40 billion.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 11:35 AM   #2102
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Dang you're quick Quashlo!! I was just about to post this too-- I saw this on the news last night. Here's some more video then of the two talking about the tweets that got the ball rolling...

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Old January 22nd, 2011, 05:25 AM   #2103
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Nagoya's Manaca IC Card PR Machine in high gear

With just over 3 weeks before Nagoya's new IC card is rolled out to the masses, the PR campaign to educate the masses is in full swing. Of course I'm one of those masses, since I ride the subway 4 times a week or more here!

First-- Nagoya Transport released a new guidebook about how to use the system.

It's VERY detailed (50 B5 sized pages!) and talks about every situation where the IC card saves money.

For example, there's the case of thru trains on the Kami-Iida/Meitetsu Komaki Line, and the Tsurumai/Metetsu Inuyama Line. From Inuyama to Sakae via the Tsurumai Line is ¥750 but via the Komaki/Kami-Iida/Meijo Line, its only ¥670, due to the difference in zones passed. However because the IC card can also remit and balance moneys on it in the same transaction, the turnstile will charge $650 no matter which way to go.


This is showing the options to print your name and register for banlance protection, or get a commuter pass.


And heres a picture of the 3 ticket machines that will sell them.
(L-R) General Ticket machine--sells 1time use tix, 1 day passes, Manaca IC cards
the 2 on the right are Manaca charge machines that are posted in the booths and next to the Fare Adjustment Machines. Use these to add cash to your card without waiting in the other line for the General machine.

There is a LOT of info in this book, and I'll cover some of it from time to time here before Manaca day (2/13)

One thing I am sad about-- The book says JR Central's Toica interoperability won't happen until Spring 2012, and Suica/ICOCA/PiTaPa/Passmo in 2013... #sigh#
I hope that's just tentative, since the new incoming MLIT chief wants all transit to have the ability to use EVERY IC card...
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 05:36 AM   #2104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrwulfe View Post
For example, there's the case of thru trains on the Kami-Iida/Meitetsu Komaki Line, and the Tsurumai/Metetsu Inuyama Line. From Inuyama to Sakae via the Tsurumai Line is ¥750 but via the Komaki/Kami-Iida/Meijo Line, its only ¥670, due to the difference in zones passed. However because the IC card can also remit and balance moneys on it in the same transaction, the turnstile will charge $650 no matter which way to go.
650 USD? That's a huge surcharge

So what you are trying to say is that manaca will just charge what the lowest possible rate is between the two stations (even if you took the more expensive Tsurumai Line because of time or capacity issues)? Will the card know which route you took?
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 06:16 AM   #2105
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Kinki Sharyō unveils new LFX-300 in Charlotte, U.S.: Part 1
http://www.masstransitmag.com/public...ion=1&id=13459

Quote:
Kinkisharyo International L.L.C. announced the LFX-300 — its prototype of the 100 percent low-floor, electro-hybrid streetcar specifically designed for North America — has completed engineering tests and trials and is proven ready for the North American market. With testing of its prototype now finalized, Kinkisharyo unveiled the newly named streetcar — ameriTRAM — to the public at a special ceremony in Charlotte, N.C.

“We thank the city of Charlotte and the Charlotte Area Transit System for allowing us to test our prototype here. We also very much appreciate the city of Charlotte’s courtesy of providing us this outstanding venue for us to introduce ameriTRAM to North America,” said Rainer Hombach, vice president and general manager of Kinkisharyo International.

ameriTRAM is a 100-percent low-floor streetcar powered by e-Brid, a propulsion technology that enables operation powered by overhead catenary or on-board lithium-ion batteries. e-Brid charges the batteries while running on catenary power. In battery mode, e-Brid uses electricity stored from regenerative braking. Depending on conditions, ameriTRA can run on battery power for up to five miles.

“Municipalities across the country have greater expectations of their urban transit solutions providers and the products and services they deliver,” Hombach said. “This new generation of streetcars must reduce capital investment and operational costs, improve environmental performance, offer greater aesthetics, enhance public safety and provide overall greater value,” Hombach added. “We’ve listened to our customers and that’s why we specifically engineered ameriTRAM for North America. With its 100 percent low-floor and e-Brid propulsion technology, we are confident ameriTRAM’s arrival is well timed and will be well received,” Hombach noted.

The e-Brid propulsion system offers compelling advantages. Less electrification equipment and maintenance means that e-Brid saves municipalities millions of dollars in capital investment and operational costs, including $1 -$2 million for every mile of catenary avoided. Eliminating overhead catenary wires allows ameriTRAM to serve sensitive historic preservation areas, or where installing overhead wires is just not practical, such as under low bridges. Also, because e-Brid enables battery-powered operation for up to five miles, ameriTRAM delivers immediate savings through lower power consumption and also eliminates harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

ameriTRAM was specifically engineered for North America and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Buy America, NFPA-130 and ASME RT-1. What’s more, ameriTRAM has a modular design and can be expanded to comprise up to seven cars without increasing a municipality’s fleet size.

“ameriTRAM is not a foreign or outdated design forced to work in North America,” Hombach said. “Not only did we engineer ameriTRAM to comply with North American regulations and standards, but we also integrated ideas from transportation officials and riders alike. ameriTRAM’s 100 percent low-floor, energy-efficient and cost effective design is uniquely engineered for North America’s sustainable cities,” Hombach added.
Apparently, Kinki Sharyō had already special promo site for the tram.
http://www.ameritram.com/

Has some good pictures, too:

















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Old January 22nd, 2011, 06:17 AM   #2106
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Kinki Sharyō unveils new LFX-300 in Charlotte, U.S.: Part 2

There are three models:

ameriTRAM 300
Weight: 32 mt (70,500 lbs)
Capacity: 115 pax (28 seats)
Length: 20 m (65 ft 7.5 in)



ameriTRAM 500
Weight: 48 mt (105,500 lbs)
Capacity: 150 pax (62 seats)
Length: 30 m (98 ft 5 in)



ameriTRAM 700
Weight: 64 mt (141,000 lbs)
Capacity: 190 pax (96 seats)
Length:40 m (131 ft 2.8 in)



Based on the special site, I believe there may be other “tour stops” in Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 06:21 AM   #2107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
Way back in the 1970s there was a proposal using the english acronym of "HATS" - Hiroshima Area Transportation Study - for a true subway down Heiwa Odori. It would have linked the Kure Line on the east to the Hiroden Miyajima line on the west. The Hiroden Miyajima line would have been rebuilt to subway standards. That proposal died though I'm not sure why.

Since then there have been a number of proposals. As far as I know, the extension from Koiki Koen-Mae to Nishi Hiroshima station by way of Satsukigaoka is still planned as an Astram extension, and an extension further south from Hondori is also planned, though the company running the Astram thinks that the probability for these extensions making it off the drawing board is not good.

As for Heiwa Odori, there are as far as I know still a number of competing proposals, LRT, Astram, and a self-contained steel wheel subway. Something IS likely to get built here, eventually, but I cannot say which of the predictions would win out.
You seem to know a lot about the Hiroshima plans... Are you from there?

It's definitely an interesting place, what with the extensive tram network and the Astram Line as a "new transit" subway.
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 02:00 AM   #2108
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While everyone is excited as to what Kinki has in plans for North Carolina, Kawasaki has sold junk to Connecticut:

The Advocate (Stamford, CT, USA)
http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news...ing-971227.php

Quote:
Metro-North seeks $12 M for new train testing
Glitches continue: Metro-North seeks $12 million more for further M-8 railcar tests
Martin B. Cassidy, Staff Writer
Published: 10:43 p.m., Friday, January 21, 2011

STAMFORD -- Metro-North Railroad is seeking an additional $12 million to retain an engineering firm for the continued testing of the state's long-delayed fleet of new rail cars.

The debut of the next generation M-8 railcars has been delayed by more than a year by computer glitches controlling the trains' signaling, on-board diagnostics and other functions

Once the computer problems are addressed, the trains must then travel at least 4,000 miles error free to be placed into service. That testing will be performed by the Ambler, Pa.-based firm of Louis T. Klauder & Associates, which has already earned $15 million for its engineering work on the railcars.

Connecticut Department of Transportation Bureau Chief Jim Redeker said that ongoing issues make it hard to predict when Metro-North Railroad and Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., the car's manufacturer, would have the cars ready for service, but the most recently set deadline of late January or early February was not possible.

"I think what we've said all along is that these are complicated cars and while they are similar to the M-7 cars there are not the same exact set of integration issues," Redeker said. "In the best case we'd have had delivery into revenue service but we haven't been able to meet the schedule."

Redeker said that the DOT and Metro-North planned for Kawasaki to pay the additional $12 million based on the terms of the contract which set penalties for late delivery.

"There was an agreement in the contract from the time the cars were promised and that's where the liquidated damages come in," Redeker said.

Laura Alemzadeh, general counsel for Kawasaki Rail Corp., said the company declined comment on the ongoing testing of the cars or the potential penalties.

Under the agreement, the consultant would be hired for an additional seven months to oversee Kawasaki's inspections and quality assurance during car testing as well as the production plants in Kobe, Japan and Lincoln, Neb., where the cars are built, according to the request for funding to be voted on by the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday morning in New York.

Redeker said most of the issues are software-based, including a problem with the central diagnostic system on the cars, which has provided false computer codes to identify problems during test runs.

Other problems impacting the auxiliary power supply system, which ensures the proper amount of electrical current to run the cars is available, and automatic train control, which ensures that engineers know when it is safe to leave a station and the maximum speed of travel are yet to be fixed, Redeker said.

"So much of the cars' operations are software related," Redeker said.

Redeker said he did not believe Kawasaki was liable to pay Connecticut for any lost revenue due to the delay of the implementation of a series of scheduled 1 percent fare increases between 2010 and 2017 that former Gov. M. Jodi Rell delayed earlier this year after pressure from rail advocates.

The fare increase is meant to pay the interest on the bonding to build the rail cars.

While the testing process has included unexpected delays, Metro-North and Kawasaki are confident that once fully vetted the cars will operate reliably on the New Haven Line, Metro-North Railroad spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said.

"Different things have popped up but we're going to get it right," Anders said. "We have a full-time team of Metro-North engineers and Kawasaki employees working non-stop on this project and we are convinced we are going to get a first-rate car that will last for decades to come."

Connecticut and Metro-North Railroad are buying the fleet of 342 new railcars jointly at a price of $866 million with the state paying 65 percent, and Metro-North, 35 percent of the cost.

In late December, Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut and Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeffrey Parker announced that engineers were working to fix a problem that came up during late November test runs. Electromagnetic interference from the new cars' propulsion systems was throwing off trackside signal equipment.

Other delays have contributed to the late delivery of the cars, including a problem in 2008 when Kawasaki could not buy the agreed-upon steel needed to build the equipment.

In late 2009, a delay in installing diagnostic software aboard the first cars delivered, halted the start of mechanical and computer components of the cars that controlled speed, braking, restrooms, and doors on the cars.

Connecticut Rail Commuter Council Chairman Jim Cameron said that the extended delays could mean there will be too few M-8 cars put into service this year to replace enough of the state's faltering M-2 railcars and ensure more reliable service next winter.

This winter, as many as 78 of the state's fleet of 228 M-2 cars have been knocked out of commission by snowstorms and cold weather, according to the railroad, requiring the railroad to deploy diesel trains to limit the impact on service.

"The introduction of the first set of M-8's is a long way from the solution to the types of problems we've seen this winter," Cameron said. "If they complete testing and begin to receive an average of 10 cars a month, and I say if, it will be a while before most people get a chance to ride them."

Staff Writer Martin B. Cassidy can be reached at [email protected] or (203) 964-2264.
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 04:30 PM   #2109
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Originally Posted by Woonsocket54 View Post
650 USD? That's a huge surcharge

So what you are trying to say is that manaca will just charge what the lowest possible rate is between the two stations (even if you took the more expensive Tsurumai Line because of time or capacity issues)? Will the card know which route you took?
Sorry! I got caught up in the moment and used $ instead of ¥... I am still an American even though I've been here for 10 years!

Yes-- The IC card records all the station information and knows exactly what it needs to do in order to charge the least amount for your journey...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FeliCa

The record is stored locally on the card in a text file that can be accessed by most PCs sold in Japan (they come with a built-in FeliCa reader so you can use e-money cards and credit cards to shop on the internet) It can then be printed out or emailed-- something I do every month with my JR Toica pass now because I travel for work and they need to reimburse me.

When using the subway now though, I have to keep separate Yurika cards (the current magnetic card being used as stored fare) It's just read only, so it can't talk to the machine to give the discount. It prints the entering and exiting stations on the back...

In this example:
Z25 -- December 25th (Months are Jan[1]-Sep[9]. Oct[0], Nov[Y], Dec[Z]
1845-- 6:45pm, system was entered.
The next area is where the station entered would be printed, for example 池下 For Ikeshita Sta., in my area. Then when I leave at my final destination, the exiting turnstile will print the exiting station next to it, say 栄 for Sakae Sta.
C-- If a discount was used
¥3850-- how much is left on the card after exiting.

It's great that I can see how much is left on the card at-a-glance, but I hate having multiple cards. I always get my business one mixed with my personal one... But since now I can just hand in a paper reciept from my computer (or when the mobile version comes out, email it from my phone!) it'll make things easier

Here's an example of using ones mobile as a farecard here in Japan..


And using it with your PC...
Here's the Felica reader in a Sony Vaio...

You can get a USB dongle one at any electronic store in the country for around $30 US.
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 04:35 PM   #2110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Kinki Sharyō unveils new LFX-300 in Charlotte, U.S.: Part 2
Based on the special site, I believe there may be other “tour stops” in Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
God I hope they stop in ATL... I used to be a contractor for MARTA back in 99~00 before my Japan escapade began... Such a frustrating job... The subway there uses the best tech I think in America (both it and Washington DC Metro were born of the same contract and use the same ATC tech-- meaning ATL's trains are driverless-- the operator is there just to operate doors and give passengers a "secure feeling")
But they need LRT badly to complement the system... ATL's metro is 5 millon plus, mostly suburban-sprawl-dwellers. I don't miss being stuck on the freeway one bit...
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Old January 24th, 2011, 04:42 AM   #2111
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Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
You seem to know a lot about the Hiroshima plans... Are you from there?

It's definitely an interesting place, what with the extensive tram network and the Astram Line as a "new transit" subway.
I definitely have a soft spot for Hiroshima in my heart.

I was in Hiroshima for one year (2003-2004) for study abroad at Hiroshima Shudo University. One of the classes I took was taught by a professor who taught classes on civics and city planning. He also had a tendancy for showing off to the foreign students. We did a tour of the Hiroden shops and rode through town on the Konig Liner The looks we got from everybody as we rode through town on that decidedly unusual streetcar were priceless.

(Unfortunately I accidentally reformatted the drive that I had the pictures on...)

Anyway, ever since then I've been following and researching the urban transport of Hiroshima.

The thing about HATS I learned and paraphrased from the "Hiroshima Shiei Chikatetsu" wikipedia page. There were a lot of very ambitious plans for rebuilding Hiroshima that surfaced in the decades following the A-bomb.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #2112
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New system to use IC chips in train passes to track those trapped under rubble
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/...na013000c.html

Quote:
A government research group is developing a system to search for people trapped under rubble when a building collapses in disasters, using IC chips currently used in train passes, officials said.

If put into practice, the system, which will allow rescue workers to locate people trapped in collapsed buildings, is expected to enable the quick rescue of disaster victims.

A study group within the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry's Shinetsu Bureau of Telecommunications in Nagano is considering using the same kind of IC chips as the ones embedded in Japan Railways (JR) group companies' IC cards such as Suica and ICOCA.

Such chips are used not only in IC cards but also for the management of goods in distribution. Since such chips use radio waves, information can be sent to and received from them without touching them. The chips are almost maintenance free.

The research group comprised of experts, local government officials and researchers with electronics manufacturers has examined the specifications of wireless IC chips, such as how far their radio waves can reach, to study how they should be applied to a disaster victim search system.

In an experiment conducted at Shinshu University in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, a radio receiver responded when it was placed near a 10-centimeter-long IC chip hidden below concrete blocks and rubble.

There are two kinds of wireless IC chips -- one with a battery that can transmit radio waves and the other type without a battery that reacts to radio receivers. In the experiment, the receiver reacted to a wireless IC chip with a battery placed 70 meters away. The experiment has proven that receivers can respond to such chips placed as far as 700 meters away, depending on the condition, according to researchers.

Shinshu University professor Yasushi Fuwa, who chairs the study group, said it expects the IC chips to be planted not only in train IC cards but also school and company identification cards and driver's licenses for the victim-locating system.

The group will compile a report on its research results by the end of this fiscal year and encourage local governments to adopt the system.

Wireless IC chips to be used in a disaster victim rescue system. (Mainichi)


A researcher moves a receiver close to rubble under which an IC chip was hidden in an experiment conducted at Shinshu University in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. (Mainichi)
An interesting application of smartcard technology outside of transit fare payment.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #2113
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Hiroshima magnetic cards to switch to PASPY in March
http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/hir...101210086.html

Quote:
The Bus Card, a magnetic card used for fare payments on fixed-route buses and streetcars primarily in Hiroshima City, will no longer be accepted starting in late March. The service will switch entirely to the PASPY IC card introduced three years ago. Unused value on magnetic cards can be loaded onto PASPY cards at the commuter pass sales locations and offices of the issuing transit operator, or refunded for cash.

The magnetic cards were introduced to fixed-route buses in 1993. Later on, the Astram Card debuted for the Astram Line “new transit” system that began service in 1994, and in 1997 streetcars began accepting the card. In 2002, the Kure City Transportation Bureau also introduced the service, increasing the number of transit operators issuing the cards to eight. Total cards in circulation in FY2008 across all operators reached approx. 6 million.

In a survey conducted by citizens groups in 1997, many users were pleased with the system because it eliminated the need for coins or changing money, but pointed out the slow transaction speed that increased the amount of time needed to board or alight transit vehicles, a weakness of magnetic card systems.

PASPY, which was introduced in January 2008, is an IC card similar in design to JR East’s Suica and others. The cards use weak electromagnetic fields, and processing speed is quick. PASPY became almost too popular in October 2009, with the supply of stockpiled cards diminishing, forcing a temporary delay in the scheduled deadline for terminating the magnetic card that same month. As of the end of September 2010, approx. 600,000 PASPY cards had been issued.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:00 AM   #2114
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Hiroshima City to expand tramway greening program
http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201101220025.html

Quote:
Hiroshima City has finalized plans to begin trackbed greening along tram lines together with Hiroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden; HQ: Naka Ward, Hiroshima City). The city hopes to implement a field trial of the tramway greening along a portion of the lines in the central areas of the city. In addition to curtailing the “heat island” effect caused by heat radiation, the city also hopes to publicize the greening for its urban streetscape benefits.

The city has entered into discussions with Hiroden to implement tramway greening along about 50 m of track in central Hiroshima City. With a mind towards the program’s potential as a marketing tool to citizens and tourists, the city will select specific locations to receive greening. In preparation for the field trial, the city has beein in coordination with Hiroden and the Hiroshima City Landscape Contractors Association. For one year starting in autumn 2009, the city laid grass plantings in the Hiroshima Botanical Garden (Saeki Ward), researching the most appropriate grasses given the climate and transport conditions.

On its own, Hiroden has already implemented tramway greening through grass plantings at two locations between the Kaigan-dōri and Hiroshima-kō (Port of Hiroshima) tram stops in Minami Ward, along a cumulative length of 252 m of track. The greening was implemented in 2003 and 2008 as a means of reducing noise and vibrations in concert with track changes due to improvements at the Port of Hiroshima and the Hiroshima South Road.

The biggest obstacle to the program, however, is cost. Kagoshima City, a pioneer of tramway greening in Japan, has already greened about 5 km of track, half of the length of the city’s entire tram network, but the cost of trackbed improvements and planting is approx. ¥200,000 per meter. If the city were to green all 19 km of track in Hiroden’s network within Hiroshima City using the same methods as in Kagoshima, the cost would be approx. ¥3.8 billion. In addition to these expenditures, there are also costs related to maintenance and administration, including watering and mowing.
Hiroden's 5100 series, the Green Mover MAX. These are five-sectioned, 100% low-floor LRVs developed jointly by Kinki Sharyō, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Tōyō Denki Seizō, and Hiroshima Electric Railway. Trains are 30 m long, with capacity for 149 pax (56 seats). Top service speed is 60 kph and acceleration is 3.5 kphps. This train won the 2005 Good Design Award. It's also one of my favorites.
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Notice the small PASPY decal at the bottom right of the car.







Longitudinal seating in the three middle sections, transverse seating in the two end sections.





Operator's cab





Since it's a 100% low-floor LRV, much of the equipment is placed on the roof.



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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #2115
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Ōsaka governor identifies privatization of Ōsaka Municipal Subway, bus operations as campaign goal
http://www.nikkei.com/news/category/...AE2E2E2;at=ALL

Quote:
As the April consolidated regional elections are fast approaching, Ōsaka Prefecture governor Hashimoto Tōru—representative of the Ōsaka Restoration Association, a local Ōsaka-area political party—accepted an interview with Nihon Keizai Shimbun on January 22 and revealed his intention to make privatization of Ōsaka City’s public enterprises, including the city’s subway and bus operations, part of the party’s campaign manifesto. Governor Hashimoto, who is aiming to secure a majority of seats in the Ōsaka Prefectural Assembly and other elected bodies to support his push for an “Ōsaka Metropolitan Government,” said, “We will win the mayoral and gubernatorial elections and lobby the national government for the necessary legal changes.” Hashimoto said he intends to set his vision into motion before the House of Representatives election in 2013, when he will be termed out of office.

In regards to the possibility of switching gears and entering the race for the Ōsaka City mayoral election in the fall, Hashimoto stressed, “Securing a majority in the Prefectural Assembly and City Council is a prerequisite. If I announce my candidacy, but my vision of an Ōsaka Metropolitan Government has no chance of being realized, what’s the point?” Hashimoto revealed that depending on the outcome of the consolidated election, he plans to evaluate options to enter the mayoral race.

In regards to the consolidated election, Hashimoto remarked, “We have no organizational structure, and we can’t allot votes in the central voting district. If we want to defeat the other parties, we will need a 70 percent voter turnout, or it will be difficult to secure a victory.”

With the consolidated election, mayoral election, and gubernatorial election all slated to happen within the next year, Hashimoto declared that if the situation is right, he will commence a large-scale reformation of Ōsaka City without waiting for the realization of an Ōsaka Metropolitan Government, which would require changes in law. “We can privatize public enterprises in the Environment Bureau and Transportation Bureau, including the subway and bus operations, keeping down costs. We will hammer out a plan that discusses a vision for the subway network that is best for Ōsaka and the Kansai region,” commented Hashimoto. The plans will be included in the Ōsaka Restoration Association’s campaign manifesto to be published in the near future.

In regards to assets under the possession of Ōsaka City such as land, Hashimoto pointed out, “Areas with high value aren’t being put to effective use.” Presenting examples such as the Kunijima Water Treatment Facility in Higashi-Yodogawa Ward and the subway inspection facility and waste incinerator in the Morinomiya district in Jōtō Ward, Hashimoto said he would advance the private-sector reuse of Ōsaka City land. “We will establish a special district for the Nankō / Sakishima districts and attract full-scale resorts to the area,” remarked the governor.

In regards to city-owned shares in the KEPCO (The Kansai Electric Power Co.) currently worth approx. ¥170 billion, Hashimoto stressed, “We propose disposing of the shares to purchase land in the Umeda North Yard area (currently under redevelopment on the north side of JR Ōsaka Station) and set it aside as a financial resource for greening projects.”

In regards to the schedule of the proposed Ōsaka Metropolitan Government plan, Hashimoto also commented, “After the series of elections, I want to lobby for legal changes and have the national government draft its policy on the proposal before the House of Representatives elections.”

In regards to the Municipal Subway, ex-mayor Seki Jun’ichi also pushed for a privatization plan. Currently, Ōsaka City mayor Hiramatsu Kunio has said that he “will not deny the possibility of privatization in the future,” but plans to maintain the publicly-operated structure for the time being while improving the subway’s fiscal efficiency.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:02 AM   #2116
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Majority of stations on Nagoya Municipal Subway to receive platform doors by FY2020
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/s/article/...290140140.html

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In an effort to prevent platform falls, the Nagoya City Transportation Bureau has settled on a plan to install platform doors in the majority of subway stations in Nagoya City by FY2020. The total cost of the program is approx. ¥35 billion. While introduction of platform doors at railway stations in the Tōkai region and across Japan is limited to only a few locations due to factors such as high costs, it’s hoped that the program will become the “ace up the sleeve” in the effort to increase safety.

On January 22, the platform doors began operating at Nakamura Kuyakusho Station on the Sakura-dōri Line, the first such installation at an already existing station. The door installations are 1.3 m tall and 100 m long, with doors placed in alignment with train doors. The platform doors are normally closed, but are designed to open in coordination with train doors.

Platform doors will be installed at all 21 stations on the Sakura-dōri Line by July of this year, at the cost of ¥1.9 billion. The Transportation Bureau has plans to complete installation on the Higashiyama Line in FY2015 and the Meijō / Meikō Line in FY2020, bringing the total of number of stations outfitted with platform doors to 79 stations, including the Kami-Iida Line. Since the Tsurumai Line runs through-service with Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu), which uses different trains, there are currently no plans to install platform doors on the line’s 20 stations.

In FY2009 alone, there were as many as 38 cases on subway lines in Nagoya City of passengers falling off the platforms by accident or jumping in front of trains to commit suicide.

On January 5 at Kurumamichi Station (Higashi Ward, Nagoya City) on the Sakura-dōri Line, a male high school student (16) who started to feel sick fell off the platform by accident. A man (70) who attempted to assist the student was struck by the train, suffering an injury to his head. Spokespersons for the city’s Transportation Bureau say, “These accidents can be prevented with installation of platform doors.”

Railway companies are cautious of introducing platform doors, and there are structural issues to resolve, such as differences in the number of doors and door placement between trains on the same zairaisen (conventional line). JR Central says, “We’ve introduced the platform doors at a portion of the stations on the Tōkaidō Shinaknsen, but installation on zairaisen is currently difficult.” Meitetsu also says it currently has “no plans” to install the doors.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:03 AM   #2117
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manaca to come with diverse array of functions
http://www.nikkei.com/news/local/art...F2F2F2F2F2F2F2

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It’s now less than three weeks before manaca, the IC farecard developed by Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu), Nagoya City, and others, will be rolled out on February 11. For private railway and subway passengers, convenience will increase, as the hassle of purchasing separate tickets will be eliminated. An array of services using new functions incorporated into manaca, including electronic money and identification keys, are also expected to make their debut in succession, and there is hope that the card will help revitalize the Chūbu region’s economy from the retail side.

manaca is a transit ticket and electronic money on a single card, jointly developed by six transit operators: Meitetsu, Meitetsu Bus, the Nagoya City Transportation Bureau, Toyohashi Railroad, Nagoya Waterfront Rapid Transit, and Nagoya Guideway Bus.

Passengers can charge their card with up to ¥20,000 at station ticket vending machines and other locations, and the card can be recharged an unlimited number of times. When using the card as a transit ticket, passengers can board buses or trains by simply touching their card to station automatic faregates or card readers attached to bus fareboxes for about one second.

In addition, passengers will also be able to accumulate points based on the value of transit fare payments made and the number of rides taken each month. The amount of points awarded varies by transit operator, but for Meitetsu, the points are awarded starting at ¥2,000 in fare payments made and 10 rides taken in the month. The award percentage reaches as high as eight percent when spending ¥20,000 or more and six percent when riding 40 times or more each month.

For manaca cards issued by Meitetsu-affiliated corporations, another point service separate from transport usage called Tamarun will also be offered, with points being awarded when using the card as electronic money at Tamarun-affiliated stores. While the award percentage varies depending on the store, every 1,000 points accumulated on the card can be converted to ¥1,000 in loaded value on the card.

Meanwhile, more and more retail facilities will accept manaca’s electronic money functionality. By February 11, Coca-Cola Central Japan will accept manaca at approx. 150 vending machines, gradually increasing that number afterwards.

Starting the same day, Meitetsu Department Stores will begin accepting manaca for payment in the basement-level gourmet food sections of the flagship store and other locations. Circle K Sunkus also has plans to accept manaca at its convenience stores within Aichi Prefecture, but only a few of its stores will be accepting the card when manaca debuts on February 11. After examining the service, the company plans to increase the number of accepting stores starting in March.

Central Park (HQ: Nagoya City), which operates an underground shopping arcade in the Sakae district, is also considering installing manaca reader units at all 105 of the mall’s stores in FY2011.

And then there are unique applications, such as from Meitetsu Real Estate Development. The company will introduce a security system using manaca at its CentEarth condominium development (Nagakute Town, Aichi Prefecture; scheduled completion in February 2012), for which the company opened the first model rooms this month.

In addition to using the card to unlock the communal entrance and delivery boxes, the company also plans to use the card as electronic money for retail shops and vending machines within the development. The company now plans to include manaca as a standard in its condominium developments planned for Aichi Prefecture.
manaca CM
Doesn't seem like they have a "mascot" for this card yet...

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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:03 AM   #2118
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JR East finalizes redevelopment plan for East Exit at Sendai Station
http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2011/01/20110123t15012.htm

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On January 22, JR East finalized a plan to construct a retail facility, hotel, and other uses in the Sendai Station East Exit redevelopment project. Originally, the railway was considering construction of a high-rise building 30 or more stories in height, but has now changed the direction of the plan, adopting a proposal comprised of multiple low- to mid-rise buildings. JR East plans to open the facilities gradually starting in FY2015, when the Sendai Municipal Subway Tōzai Line is slated to open for service.

The proposed site is JR-owned land, occupying the area between the Zepp Sendai live performance hall and the east-west public passage on the south side of Sendai Station.

According to representatives, the project will consist of facilities spread across three buildings, with the tallest building a 15-story tower housing a hotel. The first of the buildings is planned to house a retail facility and will be a connected structure with the east-west public passage, planned for a widening by FY2015.

After the fixed-term land lease with Zepp Sendai expires in July 2012, the railway will begin improvements in earnest. In an effort to create activity at the station’s East Exit in coordination with the opening of the Municipal Subway Tōzai Line, the railway plans to open the retail facility first.

Originally, JR had been considering construction of a high-rise tower, but given the surplus of office buildings in Sendai and other factors, has since revised the proposal. In the near future, the railway will formally announce the redevelopment plan and enter into discussions with Sendai City regarding environmental assessment.

Redevelopment in the area around Sendai Station’s East Exit is showing signs of life. Big-name home appliances retailer Yodobashi Camera (HQ: Tōkyō) is planning construction of a large mixed-use retail facility centered on the renovation of the existing Yodobashi Camera Multimedia Sendai store. The Sendai Anpanman Children’s Museum & Mall (provisional name), successfully wooed by Sendai City, is also aiming for an opening in April.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:04 AM   #2119
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Isesaki Station construction updates: Part 1

The JR Ryōmō Line platforms were recently elevated several months ago, but they are still working on elevation of the Tōbu Isesaki Line.

Some recent pictures (2011.01.02):
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

East end of the temporary platforms. The aerial structure for the JR Ryōmō Line is at left. The original ground-level tracks are at left, and we can see they’ve partially relocated some of the grade crossing equipment to serve the temporary track.



Looking west at the rest of the platform. Like the original ground-level platform, the temporary platform is a single island platform (two tracks). The right side of the platform is built to six carlengths (approx. 120 m) to handle the six-car Ryōmō limited expreses. The left side of the platform can only accommodate three-car trains due to space constraints as part of construction. The local trains on this section of the line are only three-cars long (this is the very end of the Isesaki Line, in Gunma Prefecture), serving as shuttles to Ōta, where passengers can first transfer to / from direct non-limited express trains to Asakusa in Tōkyō.



The west end of the temporary platform, closest to the ticketing hall and station exit. Parts of the right side of the platform closest to the faregates are cordoned off for construction, making it a bit of a hike to use. As a result, during the midday period, all trains use the left side, pulling right up to the end of the platform.



Temporary station entrance, with a four-gate array (one is a wide-type gate) and two TVMs. While only temporary, it almost seems like an improvement from the original configuration, where Tōbu shared ticketing facilities with JR.



Site of the former ground-level JR station building, which is apparently going to house the permanent Tōbu station facilities.



Temporary transfer passage for the JR Ryōmō Line. After completion, the Tōbu and JR halves of the station will be connected by public passage.

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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #2120
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Isesaki Station construction updates: Part 2

Part 2:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Now, a look at the JR station.
Main entrance is a five-gate array (one wide-type), plus one staffed counter.



Three TVMs (one for limited express trains) and Midori no Madoguchi (staffed ticket counter for special tickets).



Elevators and stairwells. The newly-elevated JR Isesaki Station is two island platforms (three tracks).



Perhaps to save on space, they have an unusual configuration of double-width and single-width escalators.



Third track is a center track accessible from both island platforms, facilitating transfers to both directions of the line. They also installed new waiting rooms on the platforms, a big help when passengers get stuck in one of the "gaps" in the schedule.



Looking out onto the Tōbu tracks and station. In the previous photo, the opposite side of the JR station has a glass exterior, but this side has been left open, probably for the future Tōbu aerial structure. It doesn't appear that the two structures will be structurally connected, but perhaps they will do some minor ornamental stuff to better integrate the two stations.



Looking east towards Oyama. The Ryōmō Line is single-track. Looking at the track layout, they may have placed the switches further out than otherwise necessary, in case they need to extend the platforms out. There have been proposals in the past for through-service between Tōbu and JR at this station.



West end, looking towards Shin-Maebashi.

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