3. Measures for Promoting the Development Railway Facilities

  (1) Basic Thinking Concerning Promoting the Development Railway Facilities
    The measures explained thusfar in relation to trunk line passenger transport systems and urban transport systems need to be implemented in order to build a domestic passenger transport system for the future.
    However, a large number of problems need to be overcome to achieve this.
    There is great expectation to rail, in particular, in the domestic transport system overall. In spite of this, however, one cannot say that construction is really progressing. On the contrary, the motivation for rail companies to invest is weakening due to increases in land and construction costs.
    In light of this, a surrounding needs to be established that encourages further investment by rail companies including the establishment of a stable source of funding and increased public subsidies. It is important, in addition to this, to establish medium to long-term policies and carry out planned and steady development of rail facilities.
  (2) Establishing a Source of Funding for Railway Construction
  (A) Structure of Fares
    Basically, the cost of rail facilities should be borne by the people who enjoy the convenience of using them. Fares need to be set, however, at a level that people can afford and so that rail remains competitive with other forms of transport. This negates the possibility of an early return on the enormous investment involved.
    The following measures need to be 'implemented, for the promotion of rail construction.
  @ To make efforts on raising customer awareness that they need to bear a larger proportion of costs in cases where investment increases due to rises in construction costs, or where there is social demand for a higher costs, or where there is social demand for a higher level of rail services. (Fig.30)
  A Undertake measures for the standardization of fares even during the construction period, so a partial return on investment is possible through fares.
  B Rail facilities in metropolitan areas respond to a large extent to transport demand for commuting to schools and to work, and the cost of commuting to work is generally payed for by the company.
    As companies are both the source of demand for transport services and the beneficiary of the service, discounts for commuter passes should be reduced. The money saved should be invested in improving facilities to decrease the congestion for commuters.
  C Consideration of diversification of charges and fares, such as higher costs on late night fares, in order to provide services which respond to user needs.
    Concerning A, the standardization of fares, described above, the "Special Measures Law for the Promotion of the specified Urban Railway Construction" was approved in 1986. This law has introduced a specified urban railway construction capital surplus reserve fund. Companies which are undertaking construction such as quadrupling tracks, to increase their transport volume, can place partial income from fares into a non-taxable capital surplus reserve fund.
    At present, the five companies included Tobu Railway are using the fund for construction to raise the transport volume on particularly congested lines. (Table 2)
  (B) Structure of Subsidies
An enormous amount of funds is required for the construction of railway facilities and the period for the return on the investment is long. In most cases, therefore, it would be difficult for work to be carried out with costs borne only by users.
Also, high-speed railways which go to make up the trunk line transport network are a type of social capital, and provide benefit nationwide, over large areas. Not only do they raise the level of user convenience, but they also play a large role in balanced national development. In light of this, it is necessary for the government to give subsidies and to encourage railway companies to invest in this area.
    The Railway Development Fund was established in October 1991, as a special status corporation in order to provide comprehensive and effective rail subsidies.
    The fund uses partial income from existing Shinkansen lines, to which subsidies are added from the national General Account, to ensure a smooth and steady supply of funds. The Fund is used as a single source of subsidy for the development of trunk railway lines, such as the construction of Shinkansen lines and raising the speed of existing lines, and for the urban railways, such as subways.(Fig.31)
    In the future, in addition to using a subsidy systemincluding grants and loans without interest through this Fund, it is also necessary to raise the national and regional burden for construction, to pursue establishing a smoothly operating national railway network including the construction of the New Shinkansen lines.
    There is a great fluctuation in the business performance of railway companies depending on the degree of development of along the sides of rail lines. In light of this, construction should be pursued in coordination with housing and lots development plans, and it is necessary to further construction according to be returned developmental profits, as touched upon.
  (C) Return of Developmental Profits
    Developmental profit is the advantage enjoyed by people other than rail developers who enjoy the economic advantage of rail construction. The effect of rail construction is finally reflected in rising prices of the surrounding land. Thus, the profits from rail construction are returned to people who have made no contribution to the cost of the construction. On the other hand, economically disadvantageous situations such as environmental problems arising due to construction of railways, become the responsibility, for the most part, on the railway developer.
    Railway development needs to be pursued from the perspective of developmental profit - initial capital investment needs to be controlled, and the burden shared fairly.
    There in no fixed method of rebate, or return of profits, established at present. However, the burden sharing needs to be undertaken in the development of lines to new town by new town developers, and other methods also need to be considered.
  (D) Structure of Projects
    The ideal structure for rail construction includes a strong funds raising capacity, technical expertise, and efficient business operation. However, it has become increasingly difficult for subway companies or companies building new long distance lines in the urban area to initiate fund raising themselves in the way that existing rail companies have. (Fig.32)
    Consequently, it is expected to be selected a suitable structure for the development of projects by the inventive efforts of the people concerned-including appleing the strength of private industry.
    Where projects involve a large construction capacity, the Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation - which over long years of experience has accumulated technical knowhow and fund raising capacities - needs to be involved.
  (3) Measures for Reducing Construction Costs
    In addition to finding sources of funding, etc. in order to facilitate the smooth development of railways, it is important that the scope of the investment not be over exaggerated.
    Various measures need to be implemented to reduce construction costs - the spread of railway lines, the space above the rails and the roads, underground spaces, etc. need to be used effectively. More rational designs, including selecting methods of tunnel boring with the operating conditions of the lines and elevated railroads, should be used. Leiner subway of which tunnel cross-section is small than the standard subway that is utilized.
    It is also necessary to consider the efficient use of existing facilities in addition to undertaking new construction. Efficiency can often be increased in a relatively short period and for little investment. (Fig.33)

Back TopPage Next