The Yomiuri ShimbunWith the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics just one year away, large-scale tests aimed at easing traffic congestion during the Games started on Monday in Tokyo and other cities.
In addition to government agencies using telecommuting and staggered work hours, train companies will increase the number of services during commuting hours through Sept. 6, one year before the final day of the Tokyo Games.
Dubbed Smooth Biz, the Tokyo metropolitan government plans three main initiatives for the tests: telework, or working from home or at satellite offices; time-lag biz, or staggering commuting hours; and traffic demand management, or increasing the number of trains and curbing the number of vehicles entering central Tokyo.
East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) increased the number of trains it operates during commuting hours on Monday morning and there were fewer staff at some Tokyo metropolitan government departments.
According to the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Tokyo Games organizing committee, more than 10 million people including spectators are expected in Japan, mainly in Tokyo, during the Games. Thus, reducing traffic congestion remains a major issue to address.
The Tokyo Olympics will start on July 24, 2020, with the Paralympics beginning on Aug. 25 that year.