Tag Archives | Japan

News & Notes

EU could ground short-haul flights in favour of high-speed rail [Guardian]

Short-haul flights across Europe could be replaced by high-speed rail under ambitious European Union proposals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from transport by 60% over the next 40 years.

True urbanism must come with a big tent [Greater Greater Washington]

Many urbanists seek greater density by revitalizing the built environment. These urbanists advocate for multi-use, human scale developments and multimodal transportation options, taking for granted that the in-migration and density that follow are good.

While density by itself naturally appeals to younger, more footloose residents, such architectural determinism casts a blind eye to those excluded from the benefits of city life when nothing changes but the built environment.

Continue Reading →


Reader Submission: Some good news from Japan

A reader, Tanya, who used to live in Providence and moved to Japan last year, wrote in to let us know about the Kyushu bullet train, which opened over the weekend in Japan.

I live in Kyushu (a while from the earthquake and tsunami) where the completed Kyushu Shinkansen line opened on March 12, the day after the quake. Recently a handful of shiny new train stations – including Fukuoka City’s massive JR Hakata City – have opened in anticipation of the bullet train. While Saturday’s opening ceremonies and fanfare were canceled due to the disaster, trains began to run as scheduled. Some Japanese friends here have expressed their sadness, that this situation came about in the midst of such an exciting time for Kyushu and Japan…

People love trains here. It’s awesome. In the midst of all of this, there is continued support for them and pride in such a great system.

Continue Reading →


Electric Mini-Buses

The above video highlights a new electric bus developed by Waseda University being tested in Japan. The bus runs 25km (15.5 miles) on one charge, takes 15 minutes to recharge, and the batteries cost approximately $50,000. The bus is estimated to reduce emissions by one third over a conventional bus.

In Providence, the Green Line LINK Trolley runs on a route of approximately 4.5 miles. Meaning a similar vehicle could do 3 one-way runs on a single charge. With charging stations at either end of the line, buses could take turns charging at the line termini.

Photo (cc) AaverageJoe

Meanwhile, in Québec City, the local transit agency runs the Écolobus (Site translated from French by Google). The Écolobus is a free downtown circulator service operated with electric buses. The vehicle’s maximum speed is 33km/h (20.5mph) and they have a service range of 100km (62 miles) or 12 hours. The buses take 8 hours to charge and seat 10 passengers, with room for 10 more to stand. The buses consume C$3.25 (~US$3.16) of electricity per day.

The Écolobus service is a bit different than the current LINK Trolley system RIPTA operates. The design of the bus with a large side door does not allow for fare collection, the bus driver is separated from the passengers in their own compartment. The buses are also smaller, but do the LINK Trolleys ever carry more than 20 people? If they were on a proper headway (say 7-12 minutes) crowds would remain small. The LINK service is a longer linear route, while the Québec City service is a shorter downtown circulator route.