The Tokyo Teleport Town has been developed along the edge of Tokyo Bay as part of an effort to convert the urban structure of Tokyo to a multi-centered urban form as opposed to it current monocentric form. To serve this Teleport Town, a transit system was constructed, beginning in 1989. It was opened for service in 1995. It runs along the waterfront zone and is said to have carried about 29,000 passengers per day at the beginning, rising to around 43,000 in 1996. Growth in the Teleport Town has been significantly slowed by a slow Japanese economy but significant additional activity is anticipated in the future.
Figure 1 provides an overview of this circulator system. It is 12 km in length, has 12 stations and it takes 24 minutes to travel from one end to the other. The line consists of an elevated double track. The vehicles are light in weight and use pneumatic tires to run on a concrete track. Heat is provided in the guideway to prevent service interruptions due to snow and ice. The total construction cost was 170 billion yen (around 1.7 billion USD at an exchange rate of 100 yen to the USD).
Figure 2 shows the vehicle being used. The vehicles have four wheels, are electrically-powered, have stainless steel bodies that are 8.5 meters long and use pneumatic tires. There are designed for low noise and vibration. All stations are built with an overhead double-deck design. The platform level is on the top, the concourse level and the surrounding buildings are connected by pedestrian decks to make access to the station easier. The stations are designed so that elderly and disabled persons can use them very easily. Vehicle operation, electric power, signal safety, communications and the equipment for fully-automatic operation are all linked together. Automatic train operation equipment controls speed, starts, stops and the opening/closing of doors.
Figure 3 shows the vehicle crossing the Rainbow Bridge. This route for this system now provides access to the Shimbashi station, which connects to the station of a JR line and a subway line. A plan for extending it would link to a second subway station. It's nickname is "YURIKAMOME" which means blackheaded gull in Japanese, now the bird of Tokyo.
This description has been abstracted from a paper by Norihisa Tadakoshi and others entitled Waterfront New Transit System in Tokyo. It was presented at the Automated Peoplemovers V international conference held in Paris in June of 1996. It is included, in printed form, in the Proceedings from this conference which is available from the ASCE. Images were provided by Professor Hirotaka Koike of Utsunomiya University in Japan and are very much appreciated.
Last modified: August 23, 2002