Tokyo/ 1964 Olympics/ Development of the 3 Ring Roads

The Tokyo 1960s transportation planning include the Circular Megapolis structure and Multi-core urban structure which is planned for further improvements in the ‘long term vision for Tokyo, after extensive research and examination, surveys, traffic volume counts, projection of vehicle numbers in the future, etc. The future vision for Tokyo includes improvements to three circular roadways to reduce congestion and improve connection between cities.

The 3 Ring Roads comprises of the inner circular route, central circular route and the outer circular route. Construction of the Metropolitan Expressway began in 1959. Its first section between Kyobashi and Shibaura opened in 1962. In 1964, Haneda Airport and Tokyo Olympics Venues were connected. Inner Circular Route was completed on 4 July 1967.

The completed circular route opened on March 7, 2015. Efforts to date includes the construction of the Yamate Tunnel along the Bay shore Route, the Shibuya line and the Metropolitan Inter- City Expressway which links the Kan- etsu, Chuo and Tomei expressways. 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. Additionally, cumulative effects such as the social capital that has been provided will yield sustained benefits in citizens’ lives and in economic activities. These routes are expected to both alleviate traffic jams on surrounding roads and offer improved convenience over a wide area by linking up with the Tomei Expressway and Yokohama’s urban centers in Shin-Yokohama and the Keihin coastal area down below, enhancing access among local communities. The Metropolitan Expressway can be used even more efficiently now that the complete Central Circular Route is open.

Future efforts are concentrated in the development of the outer- rind road. 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) targeted for completion by about 2020, and the Ken-O Expressway (Metropolitan Inter-City Expressway) that will promote traffic moving between each expressway, are moving forward as well. Tokyo will continue to pursue measures directed at places where overcrowding is predicted using strategies such as widening routes and moving ahead with construction projects on new routes for additional Central Circular Route network benefits. With several projects to build the competition sites for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games already ongoing, full-fledged development of the transportation infrastructure to support this event has begun. In addition to the plan to open a new line linking central Tokyo and Haneda Airport, plans are moving forward for a new station between the Shinagawa and Tamachi stations on the Yamanote Line and Keihin Tohoku Line, which will be timed to open for service with the start of the Olympic Games. Having good foresight and early preparations will hopefully help to ensure a smooth 2020 Olympics event.


  1. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Urban Development in Tokyo 2018[Pamphlet]. (2018). Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Development Bureau.


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