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Old December 24th, 2012, 01:54 AM   #4421
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Two new recently-released Suica CMs with Kaho:

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Old December 24th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #4422
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Tōkyō Station Marunouchi Exit panorama:
http://kenplatz.nikkeibp.co.jp/knp/xml/tokyostation/

Default is daytime view, but you can select the nighttime view using the pull-down menu in the upper left corner.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:34 AM   #4423
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Third track completed at Kunitachi Station

Both inbound and outbound trains on the Chūō Rapid Line have been using the recently-completed elevated tracks between Mitaka and Tachikawa for some time now. Kunitachi Station, however, was only partially completed, with only two tracks in service. On 2012.12.16, the third track at the station, the permanent inbound track, was completed. The inbound track in use so far is now serving as a center track. A pretty thorough video report:

Part 1: Before the track switchout
Inbound services between Kokubunji and Tachikawa during the late evening of 2012.12.15 until the early morning of 2012.12.16 were substantially reduced, although a handful of trains were operated by using the outbound tracks. Most of the video is scenes at Kunitachi.



Part 2: During the switchout
First few minutes are heading to Kokubunji Station on the last regular-schedule inbound train, followed by scenes at Kokubunji. Last third of the video is the early morning of 2012.12.16, including inside an inbound train running in reverse on the outbound track.



Part 3: Substitute bus service and Kunitachi Station post-switchout

Starts off inside a substitute bus service (operated by Keiō Bus) between Nishi-Kokubunji and Tachikawa, followed by scenes at Kunitachi the morning of 2012.12.16. First few inbound revenue-service runs were split half-and-half between Track 2 and Track 3, but afterwards, all trains began using the new Track 3.

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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #4424
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Construction updates: Kantō

Haven’t been covering much of the ongoing construction work, so here’s some videos to catch up… I haven’t looked at some of these projects for a while, and progress on several is quite apparent. First up is the Kantō area.

Odakyū Odawara Line quadruple-tracking and undergrounding
This is the last segment of the quadruple-tracking of the Odakyū Odawara Line, involving undergrounding of the line and construction of third and fourth tracks between Umegaoka and Yoyogi Uehara.

Inbound cab view (2012.11.14):



Outbound cab view (same):



Keisei Oshiage Line continuous grade-separation
Between Oshiage and Aoto. Outbound cab view of the Sumida Ward section, Oshiage – Yahiro (2012.08). Very surprised by the progress made on the viaduct.



Nambu Line continuous grade-separation
Between Minami-Tama and Yanokuchi. Inbound cab view from Fuchū Honmachi to Noborito (2012.09):

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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:38 AM   #4425
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Tōhoku Through Line
Probably the most interesting of the projects, particularly the elevated approaches at Akihabara and near Kanda… Some crazy grades at these locations as the tracks have to stay under the Sōbu Local Line but then quickly rise over the elevated Shinkansen tracks, then dive back down underneath the elevated Shuto Expressway.

Southbound cab view, Ueno to Tōkyō:









Sōtetsu Main Line continuous grade-separation
Between Wadamachi and Tennōchō. Inbound cab view between Wadamachi and Hoshikawa (2012.10)... The elevated station at Hoshikawa has really begun to take shape.



Seibu Haijima Line continuous grade-separtion
Between Ogawa and Hagiyama. Apparently the inbound track was completed way back on 2012.10.07 and I didn’t even realize it. Inbound cab view on opening day:

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Old December 26th, 2012, 07:39 AM   #4426
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Keikyū Daishi Line continuous grade-separation
A pretty interesting project involving continuous grade-separation and undergrounding of a good portion of a minor branch line well outside of central Tōkyō (though still in a very dense part of the metropolis).

Outbound cab view (Keikyū Kawasaki to Kojima Shinden). The work is primarily concentrated on the first phase, at the southern end of the line (latter half of the video).



Inbound cab view (Kojima Shinden to Keikyū Kawasaki):



Seibu Ikebukuro Line quadruple-tracking
Quadruple-tracking and continuous grade-separation between Nerima Takanodai and Ōizumi Gakuen. Another one where I completely missed progress being made, but in any event, the outbound tracks have also now been switched out so that all four tracks now serve the new elevated station at Shakujii Kōen.

Outbound cab view Nerima Takanodai to Shakujii Kōen (2012.11.28):



Outbound cab view Shakujii Kōen to Ōizumi Gakuen (2012.11.30). This is the second phase of the project, so the tracks on this segment have yet to be elevated.

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Old December 26th, 2012, 09:33 PM   #4427
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Ōmuta City establishes trial shuttle service for Shin-Ōmuta Station
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/fuk...OYT8T01663.htm

Quote:
 帰省やレジャーで新幹線の利用客が増える年末年始に合わせ、JR九州と西鉄バス大牟田は28日から1月6日まで、九州新幹線新大牟田駅とJR鹿児島線大牟田駅を結ぶシャトルバスを試験運行する。初の試みで、利用状況によって盆や大型連休の時期の運行も検討する。

 昨年3月に開業した九州新幹線新大牟田駅は、鹿児島線大牟田駅などがある市中心部から約10キロ離れた郊外にある。新大牟田駅から市中心部へは1時間に1本路線バスが運行されているが、住宅街などを巡る路線で、大牟田駅までは25分かかる。このため、新大牟田駅の利用客からは、市中心部への交通の便の拡充を求める声が上がっていた。

 シャトルバスは新幹線発着時刻に合わせ、両駅間を1日10往復する。所要時間は約15分。JR九州の担当者は「帰省客の利便性向上に加え、買い物やレジャーでの新幹線利用客が増えることを期待したい」と話している。

 乗車券は300円(小学生は半額)で、車内で販売する。10往復のうち4往復は、両駅を経由し、大牟田市岬町の商業施設イオンモールと熊本県南関町をそれぞれ発着点にする延長ルートで運行し、延長地点までの乗車券は500円(同)。

問い合わせは新大牟田駅(0944・58・7780)か、大牟田駅(0944・52・0052)へ。

大牟田市中心部へのシャトルバスが試験運行される九州新幹線新大牟田駅
This is a trial service just for 2012.12.28 through 2013.01.06, targeting passengers heading home or on vacation for the New Year’s holiday break. Will be operated jointly by JR Kyūshū and Nishitetsu Bus Ōmuta, connecting the Kyūshū Shinkansen station (Shin-Ōmuta) and central Ōmuta, including the zairaisen Ōmuta Station. Shin-Ōmuta is about 10 km from central Ōmuta, and there is currently hourly bus service connecting to Ōmuta Station, but it passes through residential neighborhoods and takes about 25 minutes. The trial shuttle service will only take about 15 minutes, with a total of ten roundtrips between Shin-Ōmuta and, coordinated with the Shinkansen schedule. Four of the ten roundtrips will also serve Aeon Mall Ōmuta in Misakimachi and Nankan Town in Kumamoto’s Tamana District.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #4428
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Shinki Bus tests new articulated buses in Sanda City
http://digital.asahi.com/area/hyogo/...212250305.html

Quote:
 神姫バス(本社・姫路市)が近畿地方で初めて走らせる連節バスの試走が25日、三田市内で計画されている4路線で始まった。車体を2台つなげており、左折するのが難しい交差点も。沿道で携帯電話のカメラを向ける人たちの姿が見られた。

 試走は午前8時半~午後3時ごろ、連節バス1台を使って実施。技術者らが連節バスに乗り、県や市、運輸局の職員らが乗ったバスが後続につき、JR新三田駅からテクノパーク、関西学院大神戸三田キャンパス、ウッディタウンへの3路線とJR三田駅から同キャンパスへの路線を走った。

 この日は交差点で左折する際、全長約18メートルの連節バスが大回りになり、信号待ちしている車両で回りきれないケースがあった。神姫バスの担当者は、交差点の信号待ちの停止線をある程度下げることを道路管理者などに要望しなければならないとしている。

試走は27日までを予定。26日は午前9時ごろから各路線の停留所に停車させる。

JR三田駅前のロータリーに止まった連節バス=三田市駅前町
Follow-up to this story… On 2012.12.26, Shinki Bus tested one of the new buses along the proposed routes in Sanda City. Apparently, vehicle queuing at some signalized intersections prevented the bus from completing several turns, so they will likely ask the agencies having jurisdiction over the roads at these locations to push the stop bars back… Not surprising given how narrow the typical road is. Testing will continue on 2012.12.27.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 09:36 PM   #4429
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Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau announces subway fare reductions, service improvements in preparation for privatization
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...21C12A2AC8000/

Quote:
 大阪市交通局は25日、現在200円の地下鉄初乗り運賃を2014年4月から段階的に引き下げ、15年10月に180円とする見直し案を発表した。来年3月には10~30分終電時間を延長する。同局は、15年4月には地下鉄事業を市100%出資の株式会社に移行する方針も決定。新会社では運賃を引き下げても経費削減などで黒字を確保できる経営を目指す。

 交通局が同日まとめた「民営化基本方針」によると、現在の初乗り運賃200円(距離3キロまで)を消費税が8%になる予定の14年4月に190円に値下げ。同10%に上がる予定の15年10月には1.5キロまでを180円、3キロまでを190円に改める。利用者の多い短距離区間で値下げする。運賃引き下げで年59億円の減収になる見込み。

 一方、今年4月時点の職員数は約5300人だったが、新会社スタート時には4500人規模とする。給与水準も民間並みとし、11年度に541億円だった人件費を、15年度には390億円に圧縮できると試算した。地下鉄は今後、人口減少で乗客数も減る見込みだが、同局は一連の取り組みで値下げ後も100億円以上の税引き後利益を確保できる、としている。

 新会社は当面は市が100%出資する株式会社とする。市に配当金が入るほか、将来完全民営化すれば市に株式の売却益が入る。

 地下鉄事業は11年度末時点で約5900億円の企業債を抱えており、同局は主に金融機関から資金調達して繰り上げ償還する。同事業の職員を非公務員化するため、民営化時に総額約900億円の退職金を支払う。

 ただ市が地下鉄事業やバス事業から撤退するための関連条例廃止の議決には、市議会の3分の2以上の賛成が必要。市は来年3月までの可決を目指すが、大阪維新の会と橋下徹市長と協力関係にある公明だけでは市議会で3分の2に満たないため、市長と対立する自民や民主などの賛同を得られるかが課題になる。

 橋下市長は同日夜、取材に対し「増税されても値下げをする案で市民のためになる。(議会に)説明して理解してもらい、賛成してもらえるようにしたい」と話した。

大阪市営地下鉄の初乗り運賃は東京メトロ(160円)などと比べて高く、橋下市長は昨年11月の市長選で値下げを公約にしていた。
On 2012.12.25, the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau announced that it will gradually reduce the current ¥200 base fare (for trips three km or less in length) on the Ōsaka Municipal Subway to ¥190 starting in April 2014. By October 2015, trips 1.5 km or less in length, the fare will eventually be reduced to ¥180 by October 2015. These changes are expected to result in an annual revenue loss of ¥5.9 billion. Starting March of next year, the last trains each evening will be pushed back another ten to 30 minutes. Together with the fare reductions, the subway will also shed some of its workforce, from the current total of approx. 5,300 employees to 4,500 employees, reducing personnel expenses from the current ¥54.1 billion (FY2011) to ¥39.0 billion (FY2015).

All of these measures are in preparation for the conversion of the subway into a public corporation owned entirely by the city. In addition to dividends, the city will be able to generate additional revenue by selling its stock in the company when the subway business is completely privatized.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 09:37 PM   #4430
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MLIT awards planning approvals to new Jōhana Line station

Official MLIT press release (via Hokuriku–Shin’etsu Transport Bureau):
http://wwwtb.mlit.go.jp/hokushin/pre...2/121226-1.pdf

Follow-up on this story… This is the new zairaisen station co-located with Shin-Takaoka Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension to Kanazawa, located approximately 1.8 km from Takaoka Station and 1.5 km from Futatsuka Station. Will open in 2014.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 09:39 PM   #4431
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Fuji City to revamp bus network
http://www.fuji-news.net/data/report...000002635.html

Quote:
富士市は、公共交通における利用者視点の使い勝手の良さ、ネットワーク全体として利便性の高いサービスを費用効率的に提供するため「市バス路線再編計画(案)」を策定した。現在パブリック・コメントを実施している。

案では、平成31年度を目標年度に、25年度から7ヶ年かけて、市民・バス事業者・行政相互のネットワークを形成し、三位一体による再編に取り組む考え。

市では再編により、市民の利便性の向上、バス事業者の経営状況の安定化、行政の財政負担軽減といった正のスパイラルへの転換が図られるとしている。

ネットワークの形成では、策定中の新都市計画マスタープランで掲げる都市の核として「吉原中央駅周辺」「富士駅周辺」「新富士周辺」が位置付けられることから、これらの3ヶ所を中心としたネットワークに再編する。

市ではバス路線再編の実施によって31年度に発現する効果を予測。1日当たりの路線バスの利用者数は793人の増加、1年当たりのバス事業者の欠損額削減は8856万円、補助金削減による財政負担軽減は年898万円を見込んでいる。

パブリック・コメントの募集期間は来年1月15日(火)まで。資料は市立中央図書館、市内各まちづくりセンターなどに配架してあるほか、市のウェブサイトでも閲覧できる。
In order to improve cost efficiency and passenger convenience, Fuji City has published a reorganization plan for bus routes in the city (operated by both public and private entities) and opened the process to public comment. The plan involves reorganizing bus services around Yoshiwara Honchō Station (Gakunan Railway), Fuji Station (JR Central Tōkaidō Main Line), and Shin-Fuji Station (JR Central Tōkaidō Shinkansen), which have been designated as the city’s three key nodes under its new urban master plan.
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Old December 26th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #4432
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Tōkyō vice-governor renews push for consolidation of Tōkyō Metro and Toei Subway under new administration
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/2012...422361000.html

Quote:
東京都の猪瀬知事は、都が求めている東京メトロと都営地下鉄の2つの地下鉄の統合について、自民・公明両党による連立政権が26日に発足することを受けて、「この問題を所管する国土交通大臣が決まったら、話をしに行くほか、総理大臣官邸にも説明をする必要があると思う」と述べ、早い段階で地下鉄の統合を新政権に求め、統合に向けた計画を作っていく考えを示しました。

先週、都知事に就任した、東京都の猪瀬知事は、25日、NHKのインタビューに答えました。
この中で、猪瀬知事は、都が求めている東京メトロと都営地下鉄の統合について、「民主党政権のときには国土交通大臣が5人も代わり、話を詰められなかった。今度は大臣が頻繁に代わらないと見ているので、大丈夫だろうと思っている」と述べ、26日に発足する自民・公明両党による連立政権に期待感を示しました。
そのうえで、「この問題を所管する国土交通大臣が決まったら、話をしに行かないといけないし、総理大臣官邸にも説明する必要があると思う。東京メトロの大株主が財務省であったり、監督権限が国土交通省にあったりするので、それぞれの役割をよく見ながら、地下鉄の統合に向けたプロセスの案を作り、実現までの段階をどうするのか、国土交通大臣と詰めていきたい」と述べ、地下鉄の統合を早い段階で新政権に求め、統合に向けた計画を作っていく考えを示しました。
猪瀬知事は、26日に東京メトロの奥義光社長と面談することになっていて、地下鉄の統合を巡ってどのような意見が交わされるのか注目されます。
NHK article has a video report.

An older video report, focusing on the work at Kudanshita Station (expected to be completed in March 2013) and the new fare discount when transferring between the Toei Shinjuku Line’s Iwamotochō and the Tōkyō Metro Hibiya Line’s Akihabara Station.

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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:38 AM   #4433
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Public Wi-Fi system rolled out on Nagasaki Electric Tramway
http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/item/340651

Quote:
 長崎電気軌道(長崎市)と長崎ケーブルメディア(同市)は12月、長崎市内を走る路面電車の長崎駅前-大波止(約0・7キロ)、赤迫-長崎大学前(約1・1キロ)区間の車内と、その停留所周辺の半径約150メートルで、公衆無線LANサービス「Wi-Fi(ワイファイ)」を始めた。来年5月から全区間(11・5キロ)、全停留所に拡大する。

 利便性を上げることで、電車の利用客の減少に歯止めをかけ、ケーブルメディアは、加入者拡大を狙う。

 ケーブルメディアのインターネット接続サービスに加入して利用を登録すれば、スマートフォン(多機能携帯電話)やノートパソコンで、無料で高速インターネットを利用できる。今後は大手の携帯電話会社に回線を提供、観光客なども利用できるようにする計画。

 長崎電気軌道は今春、社内連絡用に全路線の敷地内に光ファイバーを敷設した。全停留所にも接続装置を置くため、同社は「市中心部を幅広くカバーできる」としている。

 光回線敷設などにかかった費用は約1億円。Wi-Fiを導入した路面電車は、函館市電(北海道)に引き続き2例目という。
This is the second tram system in Japan to roll-out a Wi-Fi system (first was Hakodate City). Initial phase rolled out this month covers the Nagasaki Station – Ōhato (0.7 km) and Akasako – Nagasaki Daigaku-mae (1.1 km) segments, as well as a 150 m radius around these tram stops. By May of next year, all stops will be covered.

Speaking of mobile coverage, this article has a current list of coverage on subway lines in Japan:
http://wirelesswire.jp/News_in_Japan/201212270941.html

FYI, the list did not do a great job of excluding aboveground sections of subway lines, so I’ve taken those out.

Sapporo Municipal Subway
All sections of the Tōzai Line and Tōno Line are covered. The only remaining underground section not covered is the Minami-Hiragishi ‒ Asabu section of the Namboku Line.

Sendai Municipal Subway
All sections covered.

JR East (Sendai)
All underground sections covered (Aoba-dōri – Rikuzen Haranomachi section of the Senseki Line).

Tōkyō Metro
Ginza Line: Shibuya – Aoyama Itchōme and Ginza – Kanda
Marunouchi Line: Ogikubo – Shin-Nakano, Shinjuku Gyoen-mae – Tōkyō, Awajichō – Ikebukuro, and Hōnanchō – Nakano Shinbashi
Hibiya Line: Naka-Meguro – Kodenmachō
Tōzai Line: Nihonbashi – Nishi-Kasai
Chiyoda Line: Yoyogi Uehara – Kasumigaseki and Yushima – Kita-Ayase
Yūrakuchō Line: No underground sections covered.
Hanzōmon Line: Nagatachō – Jinbōchō and Mitsukoshi-mae – Oshiage
Namboku Line: Ichigaya – Akabane Iwabuchi
Fukutoshin Line: Senkawa – Kanamechō and Zōshigaya – Shibuya

Toei Subway
Asakusa Line: All sections covered.
Mita Line: All underground sections covered.
Shinjuku Line: All underground sections covered.
Ōedo Line: Tochō-mae – Tochō-mae (loop segment)

Tōkyō Monorail
All underground sections covered.

Yokohama Municipal Subway
No underground sections covered.

Yokohama Rapid Railway
Minato Mirai Line: All sections covered.

JR East (Tōkyō)
Sōbu Main Line: Tōkyō – Kinshichō
Other underground sections not covered.

Tōkyū Corporation
Den’en Toshi Line: Shibuya – Futako–Tamagawa
Meguro Line: Meguro – Nishi-Koyama

Keiō Corporation
Keiō Line: Shibasaki – Nishi-Chōfu
Keiō Sagamihara Line: Chōfu – Keiō Tamagawa

Metropolitan Intercity Railway
Tsukuba Express: All underground sections covered except Kita-Senju – Yashio.

Nagoya Municipal Subway
Higashiyama Line: All underground sections covered.
Meijō Line: Shiyakusho – Sakae – Aratamabashi
Meikō Line: No sections covered.
Tsurumai Line: Gokiso – Akaike
Sakura-dōri Line: Nakamura Kuyakusho-mae – Gokiso
Kami-Iida Line: No sections covered.

Ōsaka Municipal Subway
Midō-suji Line: Nishi-Nakajima–Minamikata – Honmachi
Tanimachi Line: No underground sections covered.
Yotsubashi Line: No sections covered.
Chūō Line: No underground sections covered.
Sennichimae Line: No sections covered.
Sakai-suji Line: No sections covered.
Nagahori – Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line: No sections covered.
Imazato-suji Line: No sections covered.

Kyōto Municipal Subway
Karasuma Line: No sections covered.
Tōzai Line: No sections covered.

Kōbe Municipal Subway
Seishin–Yamate Line: No underground sections covered.
Kaigan Line: No underground sections covered.

Keihan Electric Railway
Keihan Main Line: All underground sections covered.
Nakanoshima Line: All sections covered.

Hiroshima Rapid Transit
Astram Line: All underground sections covered.

Fukuoka City Subway
Airport Line: All sections covered.
Hakozaki Line: All sections covered.
Nanakuma Line: All sections covered.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:40 AM   #4434
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Bus passenger information improvements for Kanazawa Station in preparation for Shinkansen
http://www.hokkoku.co.jp/subpage/H20121228104.htm

Quote:
 金沢市は来年度、JR金沢駅に「バス乗車案内システム」(仮称)を新設する。兼六園 、金沢21世紀美術館、香林坊などへのアクセスが一目で分かる案内板を整備。スマート フォン(多機能携帯電話)と組み合わせ、目的地までのルート検索など利便性の向上を図 る。北陸新幹線金沢開業を見据え、観光客が駅から観光地へスムーズに移動できる公共交 通ネットワークを構築する。

 バス乗車案内システムは駅東口に配備。兼六園など主要6エリアを結ぶ路線の乗り場や 発車時刻、降車バス停などの情報を提供する。観光客に分かりやすいように、兼六園エリ アは「徽軫灯籠(ことじとうろう)」などエリア別にマークを表示、バスにも同じマーク を掲げる。

 ひがし茶屋街や長町武家屋敷跡など、最寄りのバス停から比較的離れていたり、ルート が分かりづらい観光地には、バス停に周辺案内地図と、観光地までの誘導サインを設ける 。公共レンタサイクル「まちのり」などを含め、次の目的地までの移動手段も示し、効率 的にまちなかを巡れるようにする。

 まちなかを走る路線バスや各種シャトルバス、コミュニティーバスなどの情報をまとめ たガイドブックも作成。市観光協会のスマートフォン版ホームページと連動させ、公共交 通と組み合わせたルートや時刻案内をスマートフォンに表示できるようにする。

 金沢市は「新幹線時代に向けて交通ネットワークの充実を図り、サービスの質を向上さ せたい」(交通政策課)としている。
This will be a combination of maps / signage / displays and online information for mobile phones that are aimed at making it easier for tourists arriving at the station by Shinkansen to get to various city landmarks by bus. A large display will be placed at the East Exit of the station showing boarding locations, departure times, and the destination stop for six key sightseeing zones in the city. Each zone will have a unique symbol mark that will also be affixed to the buses operating on routes serving that zone. For landmarks that are slightly further away from the bus stop, area maps will be installed at the bus stop and signs will be placed along the way to guide tourists.

Good to see them taking advantage of this opportunity… Kanazawa and Toyama have typically had stronger ties to the Kansai region, but the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension should bring a lot of Kantō-area residents to this part of Japan.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:41 AM   #4435
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Iwate Kenpoku Bus begins operating electric bus
http://www.iwate-np.co.jp/cgi-bin/to...cgi?20121227_9

Quote:
 岩手県北自動車(盛岡市、松本順社長)は26日、宮古市で県内初導入となる電気バスの運行を開始した。走行中に排ガスや二酸化炭素(CO2)を出さず、環境への負荷が少ないのが特長。宮古駅と景勝地・浄土ケ浜を結び、同市が推進する再生可能エネルギーを導入した新しいまちづくり「スマートコミュニティ事業」を大きく後押しする。

 今回の電気バス導入には、国土交通省の「地域交通グリーン化事業」を活用。中古バス1台を購入し、電気自動車に改造した。急速充電設備により約40分で充電が完了し、一度に約40キロ走行できる。

 車体は浄土ケ浜や月山からの眺望、※ケ崎(とどがさき)の風景が描かれた水色が基調のラッピングバス。車内にはバッテリー残量などを表示する液晶モニターも設置されており、電気自動車への理解を深めることができる。

 宮古駅前-奥浄土ケ浜間(往復約11・1キロ)を1日4往復し、夏季には、浄土ケ浜の第1駐車場と奥浄土ケ浜を結ぶ「浄土ケ浜周遊観光バス」として運行する予定だ。

県内初の運行を開始した岩手県北自動車の電気バス
More news on vehicles powered by batteries…

Iwate Kenpoku Bus operates bus services in northern Iwate Prefecture. This particular project is a Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Regional Transportation Greening Project, and involved the purchase and refitting of one used bus to operate on battery power. The battery can recharge fully in about 40 minutes, running for about 40 km on a single charge. The bus will be operated on a route between Miyako Station and Oku-Jōdogahama (about 11.1 km round-trip), four round-trips a day.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:42 AM   #4436
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Utsunomiya City to establish LRT group in January
http://www.shimotsuke.co.jp/town/reg...0121227/949358

Quote:
 【宇都宮】佐藤栄一市長が公約に掲げた次世代型路面電車(LRT)整備に向け、市は1月から、総合政策部交通政策課内の「新交通システム推進室」を独立させ、同部に「LRT整備推進室」を設置する。佐藤市長が26日の定例会見で明らかにした。

 市が進める総合的な交通ネットワーク整備で東西基幹公共交通の中心を担うLRT整備を円滑、迅速に進めるため、専任体制を強化する。同室設置にあたり「市LRT整備推進室規則」を制定した。

 同室は課相当の組織とし、現行の6人から8人体制とする。室長、室長補佐のほか、現状の企画グループはそのまま維持。引き続き具体的整備に向け国、県、交通事業者との調整を行うという。

 新年度を待たずに新組織を設ける理由について、佐藤市長は「公共交通の整備は急務。いまだ進んでいない東西の基幹交通LRTについては、早期にスピーディーな動きをしなくてはならない」と説明した。

 庁内には、各部課を横断的に円滑に動かすため副市長を筆頭とした庁内検討組織が既に設置され、本年度内にLRT導入に向けた基本方針を策定するという。
Someone (I’m guessing Utsunomiya City) put together a rudimentary promotional simulation of the LRT earlier this year:



For being a medium-sized city, Utsunomiya does lack a bit of charm and identity, but a sparkling new light rail line—perhaps becoming Japan’s first all-new tram system—would go a long way towards improving its image.

With about 34,000 daily entries (FY2011), Utsunomiya is the busiest JR station in the North Kantō region (Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma), and the third busiest JR East station outside of the “four-prefectures” definition of Tōkyō (Tōkyō + Kanagawa + Saitama + Chiba) behind Sendai and Niigata. A bit surprised when I first saw this, but this is morning rush hour (8:00 hour) at JR Utsunomiya Station. While there is strong commuter demand into Tōkyō, feeding into both zairaisen (Utsunomiya Line) and Shinkansen services, I’m actually a bit curious about the geographic distribution of trip ends… There aren’t really any other large JR stations in Utsunomiya that would be likely to generate passenger traffic locally (perhaps Okamoto, or Tsuruta on the Nikkō Line?), but perhaps some of this is commuter demand isn’t actually bound for central Tōkyō but for Saitama.



One of the other things to note about Utsunomiya is that the city’s two key central stations (JR Utsunomiya and Tōbu Utsunomiya) are about 1.5 km apart from each other. An LRT line would help improve the connection between the two stations and revitalize this key street (Ōdōri).

Driving view down Ōdōri. The first half is from JR Utsunomiya to Tōbu Utsunomiya, along part of the proposed alignment for the LRT. The curbside lane is a bus-only lane during the morning and evening peak periods:

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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:49 AM   #4437
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I would really want to see a LRT system to connect the two train stations, as well as feeding passengers to the central parts of Utsonomiya. What could happen though to the buses though that ply Õdõri at the moment: will those be reassigned to do shuttle routes to nearby housing areas instead?
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Old December 28th, 2012, 06:34 AM   #4438
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My understanding of the details of the project is limited, but I believe the buses on this route will play a supplementary role after the LRT is built... They won't completely be relegated to simple feeder routes for the LRT, but some reduction in service will be inevitable.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 08:45 AM   #4439
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In Japan, is LRT (light rail transit) defined as trams or trains that are at-grade and share road space with automobiles?

Or are these grade-separated?
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Old December 28th, 2012, 09:30 PM   #4440
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"Light rail" in Japan is mostly used to describe a modern street railway—in general, no grade-separation.

There are no great examples in Japan of grade-separated LRT like you see in some newer systems in the U.S. or some of the older tram systems in Europe that have modernized, as most of the tram systems were either replaced replaced by subways (Ōsaka, Tōkyō, Sapporo, etc.), have already evolved to a higher standard (all of the private railways that used to run interurbans), or were abandoned.

While there are quite a few tram systems that remain, most of them are either too small to warrant any major grade-separation, or already have extensive segments of exclusive ROW (with crossings), like the Arakawa Line, Setagaya Line, Hankai Line, etc., so grade-separation wouldn't really do anything for them. In fact, the only example I can think of for a major grade-separation project currently underway is the realignment of the Hiroden Main Line out of Hiroshima Station, but this would only grade-separate for one or two intersections.
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