Speical Summer Seminar @GRIPS
On 4th and 5th September, Mr. Krittanai and Mr. Chee Yung (M1 students) participated in a special summer seminar, “Railway Systems and Urban Development of Mega Cities”, which held at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). It provided international students with a platform to know the full picture of urban transportation in Tokyo and to communicate with each Japanese organization or company directly.
The first day of the summer seminar was the lecture session, which consisted of two parts, “Overview of railway systems and urban development in Tokyo” and “Changes induced by the pandemic and future strategies”. The former provided us with the overview of the mobility development in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area from past to future, especially in the development of the railway network. Prof. Fukuda had given the speech, “The future of mobility in Tokyo after the pandemic”, in the first part of the lecture session. He had clarified some possible changes in daily travel behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While for the latter part, several speeches had been provided by Japan Transport and Tourism Research Institute (JTTRI), Mitsui Futosan, JR-East, Tokyo Railways and Tokyo Metro. As the pandemic has changed our working styles and travel patterns thoroughly, each organization and company have started to change their business and management strategies against the pandemic.
On the second day of the seminar, participants were divided into two groups for site visiting. We were assigned to the first group where our destinations were Nihombashi, one of the most important commercial areas in Tokyo, and Tokyo Metro General Training Center.
At Nihombashi, the presenter from Mitsui Fudosan presented their plan to revitalize Nihombashi. It was very interesting that they are trying to preserve heritage buildings while pushing the area toward contemporary lifestyle. After the presentation, the presenter showed us around the area and the places they are developing. We got to see Nihombashi bridge which is a landmark of the area and an interesting place in terms of transportation and urban landscape because they are planning to remove the highway above it and construct a tunnel instead to improve the appearance of the area.
After that, we went to Tokyo Metro General Training Center where we learned how they are training their clerks. The presenter from Tokyo Metro walked us around the building and showed us almost all of the trainings and systems, from how the ticket machines work to how to operate a train. All participants were impressed by how advanced their technology for training is. Some of us even got the chance to try operating a train using virtual simulation technology.
[Chee Yung, Krittanai]