February 7, 2019
Tokyo--Three options, including a surcharge, have been proposed to ease traffic jams on metropolitan expressways during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
The Tokyo metropolitan government and the Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee presented the ideas at a meeting of a panel of experts on Wednesday.
The three options are to add extra charges to expressway tolls, reduce the number of automobiles on the expressways based on the last digit of the vehicle license plate numbers, and introduce high-occupancy lanes for automobiles with two or more people including the driver.
The metropolitan government, the organizing committee and the Japanese government will carefully examine the measures in terms of the levels of their expected benefits and possible challenges involved. A conclusion will likely be reached by the end of this year.
Japan aims to curb the use of private cars during the 2020 Tokyo Games to ensure smooth passage of vehicles related to the quadrennial events. Trucks of logistics companies would not be subject to any of the proposed measures.
The surcharge option will require a revamp of toll collection equipment, which is expected to take several months to complete.
The license plate-based traffic control and high-occupancy lane systems were proposed by the International Olympic Committee, according to sources familiar with the matter. Fines would be imposed on violators of rules related to the two methods.
Traffic congestion on metropolitan expressways is expected to increase twofold during the 2020 games if no measure is taken.
The metropolitan government and the organizing committee have set a goal of reducing traffic volume in central Tokyo during the games by some 15 pct from the levels on regular weekdays. Jiji Press
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