Increase in the transportation capacity of urban railways
Increasing the transportation capacity of urban railways means boosting the capacity of urban high-speed railway services in various ways to meet the demand at peak hours. More specifically, this is a generic phrase covering a wide variety of capital investment measures, including increases in the number of coaches, improved traffic signal systems to shorten service intervals, elevated rails in urban areas (abolishing railway crossings) for faster services, linking suburban trains directly with subway lines in city centers, and providing triple-track services for high-volume routes. To ease the congestion of urban railway services in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, private railway companies have been implementing since 1961 an 8-stage plan to boost transportation capacity. The JR group also conducted a special campaign to increase transportation capacity in the Tokyo metropolitan area before its privatization. To date, this remains as one of the most significant tasks the Japanese railway industry faces.
Railway development programs
The Council for Transport Policy is an advisory body, comprising academics and industry experts, to compile a set of policy recommendations to the Minister of Transport. Among its recommendations is the plan to improve urban railway systems in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka areas. Urban railways include urban high-speed railway services (the railway division of JR and private railway services, and medium-distance JR services), subways, lightweight automated guided transit, monorails, and tram services. In Tokyo, a recommendation was made in July 1985 to build new lines and improve existing services for a section of 561km, 230km of which has already been completed. The recommendation for Nagoya in January 1992 involved 290km section of railway, with about 30km already completed. In Osaka, the May 1990 recommendation involved 333km, about 60km of which has been completed.