Tokyo/ Olympics 1964/ Urban infrastructure developments and beyond

Establishing and understanding the relationship between urban infrastructure and transportation planning is crucial in city planning as it needs to react to not only issues of today and the past but also project the future of the city. The Tokyo Metropolitan Area which was made to be the main core for city dwellers suffers from overcrowding thus new railway lines had to be built to bring people out into the suburbs. ‘Relations between Urban Structure and Transport Planning in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area’ by Itsuki Yoshida takes us through a history on how Tokyo as a city has developed over the years from events such as the Great Kanto Earthquake and the Olympic Road to understand the current city conditions of Tokyo. Then, he focuses the discussion on the Metropolitan Expressway strategy adopted for future Tokyo.

In 1958 the Tokyo Regional Plan was released which proposed a series of satellite cities and general decentralization as the solution to Tokyo’s rapid population boom (rising from 3.5 million in 1945 to 10 million in 1960). One aim of the development of the Tokyo Metropolitan Region at that time is to achieve the multi-focus urban structure and induce relocation of urban functions which becomes the framework of the highway network of Tokyo. In the built-up area, some urban expressways which connect the city centre and subcentre districts have already been constructed but are insufficient to cope with the future traffic demand.

‘The long-term vision for Tokyo’ is a plan outlining infrastructural improvements for 2020 Olympics and beyond. The urban structure idea of revisiting and improving the circular megapolis structure concept and the multi-core urban structure concepts which were fundamental ideas for Tokyo’s developing Urban Structure since the since the ‘Tokyo Plan’ in 1995. This plan or the ‘Three Ring Roads’ plan features improvements on all three circular roadways, which points towards the Centre Circular route, the outer circle expressway and the inter-city expressway. Its completion will better allow the three expressways to act in a complete circular network. The Central Circular Route has helped to ease the traffic concentrated downtown, reducing travel times and alleviating congestion. Shortened travel times will have the long-term beneficial cumulative effects of making logistics more efficient, which will boost economic activities in a wide area and also have cumulative effects where the social capital provided will benefit citizens’ lives and economic activities. Development plans for the three ring roads that will be the key to improving transportation efficiency in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including the Tokyo-Gaikan Expressway (Tokyo Outer Ring Road) and the Ken-O Expressway (Metropolitan Inter-City Expressway) that will promote traffic moving between each expressway, are moving forward as well.

White spaces and flexibility also help in the future planning of Tokyo urban infrastructure and transport. Tokyo continues to adjust accordingly where congestion is increasing or predicted to be by widening roads concurrently with the transport network expansions. Additionally, fast development of the transportation infrastructure supports future projects and urban infrastructure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games.


  1. Y., Dr. (n.d.). Urban Structure for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  2. I. (19 june, 2012). The relationship between the center and the urban structure and transportation planning to Tokyo. Relations between Urban Structure and Transport Planning in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Retrieved December 28, 2018.

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