What Tokyo Does Well in Urban Mobility
Home to an efficient, on-time, and diverse public transit system, Tokyo ranks tenth in the Public Transit sub-index. The extensive urban rail network also connects to city buses, trams, monorails and the national high-speed bullet trains. The city is reportedly building a new rail line that extends from its waterfront areas to the city center by 2040.
A leader in road safety, Tokyo diligently enforces traffic laws and records few fatalities from road accidents. Street parking restrictions and historically strong investments in rail have led to fewer car drivers that are at risk of suffering a traffic accident.
Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores
Challenges and Opportunities for Tokyo’s Transportation System
Despite government investment, charging infrastructure remains somewhat underdeveloped in Tokyo and consequently EV uptake has been relatively slow. The Japanese government is reportedly considering a plan to install 300,000 charging points by 2030. The city also is encouraging implementation, including requiring chargers to be installed in new apartment buildings, according to reports.
Owing to its large surface area, the city's cycling infrastructure is underdeveloped. And yet, there is still relatively good cycling adoption among its residents. City plans to build 468 kilometers (290 miles) of cycling lanes by 2026 – up from the 339 kilometers (210 miles) in 2021 — can boost cycling ridership even higher.
Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score
How Tokyo Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility
While Tokyo is home to a strong public transit system, its large area forces some residents to take long walks to stations. To improve station density and encourage ridership, the city can add bus routes and stops to help connect people to the public transit system — a cost effective improvement that would benefit residents. In the long run, adding new metro and rail stations and lines will be key to building out their public transit offering for residents outside of the existing lines, but that effort will be a time-intensive and expensive undertaking. Japan's previously mentioned plans to extend rail lines are a step in the right direction.
Japan's government has announced that by 2035 all new vehicle sales will be Clean Energy Vehicles (CEVs) -- which includes hybrids and hydrogen- and electric-powered vehicles. Despite this commitment and the heavy presence of automobile manufacturing in Japan, Tokyo is lagging behind its peers with an EV market share 14 times smaller than that of Shanghai. To meet its target, Tokyo can expand its existing EV incentivization and charging installation subsidy programs like tax breaks, registration fees exemption, toll exemptions, or special access lanes to encourage residents to consider EVs for their next car. In addition, introducing low-emission zones will further discourage non-CEV usage and purchases. Charging station availability is another major factor in EV purchase decisions. Tokyo would need to multiply its charging station density by a factor of 3.7 to offer a region-leading charging network.