- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Japan Rail Starts Car-Sharing

OK, here is something Japan specific. And wow. This could really change the way things are done around the place. From "Terrie's Take" (thanks Terrie):

-> Trains and car sharing

It seems that car sharing is really starting to catch on,
with East Japan Railway (JR East) announcing that it will
enter the business and make a small initial fleet of 6 cars
available in Tokyo and Kanagawa. Subscribers will be able
to unlock the cars using the unique ID on their Suica
commuter card. Apparently JR East will extend the service
to over 12 stations in Tokyo over the next 24 months. The
price will be JPY630 for every 30 minutes of use, plus the
usual registration and monthly subscription fees. ***Ed:
Obviously a small experiment to start with, but imagine if
JR East started doing this service at stations popular with
tourists -- outside Tokyo.**

Damn right! Just imagine. And it isn't such a leap from there to imagine JR getting into the bicycle sharing gig also. Just imagine if you could glide into any JR station in Japan and take your pick of car or bicycle depending on the needs at the time. Now THAT is seamless, safe, efficient, ecological transport integration. Enough! highways - THIS is what we really need.

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