• Short Summary

    Tokyo (put latest date)
    Shinjuku station in Tokyo is the word's busiest railway terminal -- handing more than half a million passengers a day.

  • Description

    ws trains in and out of suburban Shinjuku Station in Tokyo
    11 ft

    cu clock (just before eight in morning)
    12 ft

    ms train commuters through turnstiles (two shots)
    20 ft

    ms passengers onto train, guards push, train away
    36 ft

    sv bullet train flashes past
    38 ft

    ws zoom out bullet train to camera and past
    46 ft

    ws tokyo monorail train
    55 ft

    ms monorail (three shots)
    65 ft

    ha zoom back from traffic on expressway
    78 ft

    ms heavy traffic on road
    81 ft

    ms zoom back to ws traffic
    87 ft

    ws pan tokyo skyline
    96 ft

    cu computer-controlled vehicle system model cars zoom back
    109 ft

    cu small cars past
    115 ft

    cu small cars to camera, past, into station and out
    129 ft

    ws pan model CVS
    136 ft

    Initials rgh

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Tokyo (put latest date)
    Shinjuku station in Tokyo is the word's busiest railway terminal -- handing more than half a million passengers a day. At the peak of the morning commuter rush hours, Shinjuku is just one of a vast complex of rail stations -- both government and private - handling seven-million Japanese workers in the greater Tokyo area.

    Even that figure is small compared to the 37-million individual trips made each day on all forms of transport in greater Tokyo.

    Although Japanese railway systems are among the most efficient in the world (if not the most efficient), rail authorities face great problems in coping with future predicted increases in rail traffic.

    With more developments in safety techniques, they estimate a few more expresses can be squeezed onto existing lines. So in the meantime, more people are packed into the carriages -- twice as many as they were designed to carry.

    To help cope with future rail expansion, the Japanese Government this week announced a development plan for the Japan National Railways costing two-trillion yen (two-and-a-half thousand million sterling).

    Much of this vast amount will go towards extending the country's "Hikari" or bullet train service, which currently runs between Tokyo and Osaka, into a national network from the far north to the south of the three largest islands. The bullet train is at present the government railways' top money earner.

    While one earns a profit, another loses. The monorail service linking Tokyo's airport with the city centre was built for the 1964 Tokyo olympics. It was expensive to build and has lost money most years. No plans have been made to extend monorail lines in Tokyo although they could be a possible answer according to some transport experts.

    Rail transport is not the only problem facing Japanese planners. In a recent White Paper on transportation, the Government admitted that failure to adapt to rapid structural changes had given rise to various major social problems like commuting difficulties in the big cities and a decline in the efficiency of buses and taxis due to road congestion.

    The paper said investment in transportation improvements had been slower than growth of Japan's gross national product.

    With the continuing growth of car ownership -- up 35 per cent in 1970 -- road congestion in Tokyo has reached a serious level. An extensive system of elevated expressways has not help ease the problem.

    Among the solutions Tokyo planners are working on is this Computer-controlled Vehicle System (CVS). In the model stage now and with a large test track planned, this could be an answer.

    A network of raised tracks will carry hundreds of small electric cars. Passengers buy a ticket for their destination, board the first car that stops, push a button and away it goes at speeds up to 80 kph.

    The cars would be air-conditioned and be fitted with television, radio and a telephone. A central computer would control the operation of each vehicle.

    Stations would be planned at a high frequency to enable extensive use of the CVS system by businessmen, students and housewives.

    One unsolved problem with this system is the cost. No-one is willing to estimate how much it would cost to install throughout Tokyo.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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