National

Second day of traffic-easing trial held to prepare for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

JIJI

The Tokyo metropolitan area underwent a second day of a large-scale trial Friday to ease congestion on major roads in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The trial, which was also conducted on Wednesday, is aimed at testing whether measures to curb traffic, such as closing entry ramps to expressways, will work on Fridays, when traffic volumes are typically higher than on other days.

As with the first day, four entry ramps to the Metropolitan Expressway near the athletes village and the competition venues, including the Harumi ramp, were closed off for the whole day.

In addition, traffic lights on the local Ring Road No. 7 were programmed to shorten the duration of green lights for vehicles heading toward the center of the capital.

A total of 37 entry ramps for expressways, including the four near the athletes village and the sporting venues, were closed off as of 11:15 a.m.

At 11:30 p.m., a 7-km traffic jam had built up on the Joban Expressway leading to the Misato toll booth in Saitama Prefecture.

“There is no major impediment (to city traffic), but I feel it is generally more crowded than on the 24th,” said a representative of the Tokyo Games organizing committee, which is conducting the trials.

The daily number of vehicles on the Metropolitan Expressway fell to about 1,014,000 on Wednesday, the first day of the trials. That was roughly 80,000 less than on the fourth Wednesday of July 2018, when there were 1,094,000 vehicles.

The organizing committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the central government are expected to analyze data collected from the two-day trial to discuss traffic-easing measures for the 2020 Games period, such as raising expressway tolls.

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