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February 29, 2024

“Around the World” : Japan

Navigating Japan’s Mobility Evolution: The Intersection of Efficiency and Innovation

🚆Our journey takes us to Japan, where punctual Shinkansen rides represent a long-standing tradition of efficiency, now shifting towards embracing sustainable mobility concepts.

🛴 Japan’s policy updates have made e-scooters accessible to those over 16 without a license, signaling a shift towards modern mobility solutions. This evolution, however, brings forth safety and regulatory adherence concerns which is crucial for the broader acceptance of micro-mobility. Under the new legal framework, e-scooters are subject to strict regulations: they must be registered, display a license plate, and riders are urged to wear helmets and follow the traffic laws that apply to cyclists. (Particularly in bustling areas like Tokyo’s Ginza district where biking accidents already happen on a daily basis)

🌏Japan’s integration of e-scooters into its transportation system is rooted in its cultural respect for rules and regulations. This is reflected in their meticulous approach to e-scooter usage where adherence to traffic signals is a norm for all, including cars and bicycles. With the introduction of laws governing e-scooters, Japan has set age restrictions, limiting use to those over 16, capped speeds at 20 km/h, and mandated the following of the same road rules as bicycles. This careful regulation contrasts with some European experiences, where initial lack of age verification, identity checks, and delayed speed regulations led to a more chaotic integration of e-scooters. The Japanese model showcases a structured approach, acknowledging the e-scooter as part of the traffic ecosystem, unlike some European cities like Paris, which ultimately faced challenges in adapting these mobility solutions.

🔧 Home to automotive giants, Japan’s innovation narrative is expanding to include sustainable and shared mobility, though its adoption is progressing at a cautious pace compared to global counterparts. One example is Nissan’s initiative to build a sustainable community in Namie Town, Fukushima where they’ve implemented the “Namie Smart Mobility” project, utilizing electric vehicles and connected technologies for public transport and goods delivery from local shops. Demonstrating a commitment to new mobility services and renewable energy use, as part of their global efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

🚗Lastly, while carpooling in Japan has been tightly regulated, often associated with illegal ‘shiro-taku’ operations, there was a notable mention by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2019 regarding the potential promotion of carpooling, particularly to enhance transportation in rural areas. However, despite this announcement, concrete actions or significant changes in policy to actively integrate carpooling into Japan’s transport system have not been clearly recorded. The sector continues to navigate through a regulatory environment that includes concerns about competition with taxis and the need to establish safety standards for informal transport services.

The recent authorization for taxi operators to participate in ride-sharing applications is a response to service shortages in specific areas of Japan. This move reflects a broader conception of ride-sharing in the country, which often aligns with carpooling practices. For instance, a carpooling solution, while termed a ‘ride-sharing’ service, operates primarily as a long-distance carpooling platform. Although currently underutilized, this shift could potentially familiarize the Japanese public with the concept of ride-sharing through apps, including those like Uber Share, potentially leading to a broader acceptance and use of true carpooling systems.

Join us next week as we continue to discuss the mobility narratives shaping our world.

#SustainableMobility #JapanTransport #Innovation #MicroMobility #CarpoolingJapan #UrbanPlanning #MobilityShift #KarosCommunity #TransportPolicy #EcoFriendlyCommute

Nikkei JapanTimes Toyota ScienceDirect Kyodo Nissan DonDon

Article written by :

Zaccharie Ben Dhia, Karos Mobility


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