Accessibility improvements in Tokyo's commuter railways : the Japanese National Railways to East Japan Railways

by Gabriel Banks

Institution: University of Hawaii – Manoa
Degree: MA
Year: 2007
Record ID: 1811182
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/20409


vi, 118 leaves, bound ill. 29 cm In November 2000, Japanese policymakers passed the 2000 Transportation Barrier-Free Law, a law designed to create a more equal society through the improved accessibility of the built environment. The 30 year path to this law was fraught with changing cultural values, demographic shifts, and domestic pressures stemming from international movements. In response to these pressures, the government realized that the urban transportation network ostensibly designed to provide mobility was in fact a major obstacle. Improving the accessibility of the transportation infrastructure was the key to creating a society that treated all individuals equally regardless of age or health. This thesis asks how the law arose, how private industry and the state differed in their . approach to the law, and how railway travel is changing today for persons with mobility handicaps and the aged in Tokyo. To answer these questions, this thesis reviews legal and policy changes during the two decades since the government first attempted to improve accessibility, as shown in Figure 1. The case includes a history of conflict between the interests of private industry and the interests of the government that preceded the current forms of accessibility regulation and funding in Tokyo's commuter rail system. Finally, the study ends with my own observations of the ways the 2000 Transportation Barrier-Free Law is moving Japan closer to its goals.