Chapter 11 Implementation of Transport Safety Policies

1. Traffic Safety

    The MOT actively pursues measures to achieve traffic safety, which is a fundamental of its transport administration. The Ministry develops a traffic safety plan every year for all sectors of the transport industry, such as land, sea and air.
    However, The situation described as a "second traffic war" is taking place on the roads, and the annual road toll has exceeded eleven thousand for two years running. The train disaster in May 1991 on the Shigaraki Tableland Railway resulted in 656 injuries. The MOT has taken heed of these conditions and is working on policies for accident prevention and aid to accident victims.
    In particalar the Council for Transport Technics has deliberated on the plan of expansion and strengthening of safety standards for vehicles until late FY1991.
    Measures are being implemented for safe operation of railroad transport including driver security equipment, safety conditions in carriages and complete and correct management of operations. In sea transport, various measures are being undertaken in relation to ocean leisure craft and a system is being established for the introduction of GMDSS.
    In air transport in 1990, deaths for the year due to helicopter accidents were the highest ever. To counteract this, an inquiry was initiated by the Bureau of Aviation, and a survey was taken into safety measures in the operation of helicopters. Advice is being given through groups concerned with helicopter transport on measures to prevent accidents.

2. Countermeasures Against Disasters

    The MOT, the Maritime Safety Agency and the Meteorological Agency are administrative organizations designed under the Basic Law for Disaster. They draft plans and take a comprehensive and planned approach to their implementation.
    These plans include strengthening the system for weather surveys and forecasts and reporting and predicting disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Measures are taken against disasters in transport systems and transport facilities, and for the preservation of the national land including the protection of the coast, and projects for the reconstruction of disaster-hit ports and harbors.
    The system for supervision and control of volcanic disasters has been further strengthened. This is one element which developed as a countermeasure against the Mt. Unzen, following the November 1990 eruption and continuing volcanic activity.

3. Technological Development

    The Council for Transport Technology presented its recommendation Inquiry 16 "Concerning Transport Technology Measures With a View to the 2lst Century".
    A number of technological developments are being pursued in accordance with the recommendations.
    Development of the linear motor car is underway, the speed of railways is being raised, techno-super liners developed, and advances in man-made satellites are being used for multi-purpose application for transport. Developments are also underway in harbor technology. Research is being pursued on waterfront telpher railways technological development is being undertaken for traffic safety such as the advanced safety vehicle (ASV), and technological development of earthquake notification and weather forecasts.

4. Promotion Information

    An information system in the transport sector has been developed to raise the level of user convenience, to increase the efficiency and operational level of businesses concerned, and to improve safety.
    The MOT is also actively pursuing increased application of information and is presently looking at the standardization and common use of a "Stored Fare System". This is a card system in which fare cost is automatically subtracted at ticket checkpoint.
    The MOT is also involved in promoting electronic data exchange (EDI) in which data is exchanged by computer rather than in the traditional book and paper form. This is being dealt with both internationally, and domestically, where it is being pursued actively across business sectors, including the transport business sector.(Fig52) (table8)

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