illustration of public transportations


Chiiki Kōkyōkōtsū Seisakuron (Theory of Regional Public Transportation Policy)


SHUKURI Masafumi, HASE Tomoharu (authors and editors)


260 pages, A5 format




April 20, 2021



Published by

University of Tokyo Press

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Chiiki Kōkyōkōtsū Seisakuron


Out of Print

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Regional public transportation is an element of the economic and social infrastructure that is essential to regional sustainability and development. In Japan, this important social infrastructure has basically been left to private companies. Reliance on private companies to provide regional public transportation is unique to Japan and not seen in Western countries. Commercially-based regional public transportation was made possible by the Japanese context, characterized up until the rapid economic growth period from the 50s to 70s by rapid economic and population growth in a country with small inhabitable area, which allowed for effective passenger transportation. However, the subsequent rapid spread of private vehicles, population decline, ageing, and urbanization have negatively impacted the operation of private regional public transportation companies. As I am sure many students are aware, today, the number of regions struggling to maintain adequate levels of regional public transportation services is steadily increasing.
This book compiles examples of actual policies and measures discussed in the “Regional Public Transportation Policy Research” course offered by the Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo in the A1A2 term, as explained by the instructors of the course. The course is an omnibus-style course, with individuals involved in the operation of regional public transportation (railways, busses, passenger ships, etc.), government administration (national and local governments), and researchers serving as guest instructors. The lectures, delivered passionately by the instructors, are typically followed by energetic discussion between the instructor and students who represent various disciplines. Every year, the course also features opportunities for students to deepen their understanding and thinking through field trips and on-site classes in which students, instructors, and other local stakeholders engage in discussion after seeing and experiencing policies and measures firsthand.
Amid the catastrophic circumstances facing regional public transportation, over the past several decades, municipalities representing the consensus view of communities have established legal and support mechanisms to promote efforts to maintain, secure, and improve regional public transportation. Various regions are working to advance community-based initiatives. However, the challenges faced by communities in different parts of the country are not always the same; nor are the solutions. The initiatives do not have a long track record and are limited geographically, and there are only a few examples of successes.
In this context, this book presents case studies from around the country that have, through the outstanding efforts of local officials and transportation operators, achieved solid results and are seen as having a certain degree of sustainability. It is anticipated that these initiatives will be transferable to other regions and will prove useful to anyone interested in, learning about, researching, or directly involved in regional public transportation.
Finally, it is my hope that the reader recognizes the universal significance and value of the case studies presented in the book and delves further into the topic from multiple perspectives, keeping in mind that a comprehensive point of view is essential when thinking about regional public transportation.

(Written by SHUKURI Masafumi, Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy / 2023)

Related Info

NEW! 2nd Edition published by The University of Tokyo Press  April 16, 2024

TTPU – Transport and Tourism Policy Research Unit (Graduate School of Public Policy, The University of Tokyo)

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