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09. “Will Railroads be the Key to Fukuoka’s Future Growth?”





[October 26, 2015] Fukuoka Growth 2015-2016 GlobalCityStatus リレーコラム View this post in pdf pdficon_small (668KB, Japanese)

Column 09. Will Railroads be the Key to Fukuoka’s Future Growth?

(by Kouji SHIRAHAMA, Senior Researcher)
On last September 19 and October 3, Fukuoka City was the destination for NHK’s popular TV program Bura Tamori (Roaming Tamori), in which the celebrity Tamori leisurely travels around areas throughout Japan and comes into contact with the history of cities and the lives of their residents. Many people probably watched these episodes because there was a lot of buzz about them before they were aired.
The topic of the October 3 episode was “Fukuoka and railroads—Were railroads the key to Fukuoka’s growth?” While visiting railroad related historical sites and rail yards, the program looked at how Fukuoka, the third largest city on Kyushu after Kagoshima and Nagasaki when municipalities were introduced during the Meiji Period, merged with Hakata due to the launch of trolley service in 1910 and how Fukuoka became the largest one in Kyushu during the Taisho Period for various reasons including population growth along the Nishitetsu Tenjin Omuta Line after the service on the line was launched in 1924, and then overtaken by Kitakyushu City through the merger of five cities, but then once regained the top positon when the Sanyo Shinkansen was extended (1975).
The program also touched on the fact that railroads were not simply for transporting passengers, that Tenjin was the node where the Fukuhaku Denki Kido and Hakata Denki Kido lines intersected (currently the area around the Tenji Intersection), that in Hakata, the station was moved, the surrounding area was redeveloped, and for thirty-six years, it was the western terminus of the Shinkansen line, and that commerce and businesses have clustered in both areas up to present day because they were terminuses.
In the past, railways were the transportation lifeline for the nation and regions. It is without the doubt that railways were one of the main reasons for the growth of Fukuoka City, which possessed several train lines appropriate for the various types of transportation (intra-city, suburban, and intercity) and become a cluster for businesses and people as a result of being the terminus. At the end of the program, Tamori comes to deeply understand that railways were the key to Fukuoka’s growth.
However, until the mid-1960s, the construction of railways in Japan was focused on laying lines for the transportation of goods—for northern Kyushu, coal—more than people. Service on many of the rail lines that extended like mesh was discontinued on account of the energy revolution and motorization.
In Fukuoka City and neighboring areas, service on various lines were discontinued, and these lines include Nishitetsu’s Miyajidake Line (partially in 2007), Japan Freight Railway’s Hakata Rinko Line (partially in 1998), Japanese National Railway’s Katsuta Line (1985), Japanese National Railways’ Chikuhi Line (partially in 1983), and Nishitetsu’s Fukuoka Shinai Line (1979). There are various reasons why service on these lines were discontinued, but if service on these lines had continued until today, the shape of Fukuoka’s development would have probably been different (more developed?).
For example, in Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture, the JR Toyamako Line, service on which was discontinued as the number of passengers fell, was replaced with light rail transit (LRT) in 2006, and as a result of efforts to improve convenience and service and develop the local area, the number of LRT passengers grew two or three fold compared to before the line opened. In addition, comprehensive steps, including measures to promote the use of trains—introducing a loop line in the city (2009) and undertaking a pilot program to invigorate the use of the JR Takayama Main Line (2006‒2011)—and various urban development projects, were taken, and it appears that efforts to reinvigorate the city center and boost the number of people living there are having an impact.
In this way, railroads are important tools for making cities more compact, but there are some segments of Fukuoka’s train lines that get as crowded as trains in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area during peak commute time because it has been impossible to keep up with growth in the number of people living along the train lines.
Since the 2000s, there has been a trend toward people not owning cars (car sharing, etc.) and cities becoming more compact, and a series of tourism trains; Yufuin No Mori, which attracts many passengers from both in Japan and overseas [JR Kyushu]; Seven Stars in Kyushu, which has generated buzz as a luxurious “cruise” train [JR Kyushu]; and the Tabito and Suito [both operated by JR West]) have boosted demand for public transportation‒based on travel and helped dramatically increase the appeal of Fukuoka. With this in mind, now would probably be a good time to consider the most appropriate way to make use of public transportation (trains, etc.) and transportation nodes (terminals and hub) for Fukuoka, a comfortable growth city. (Reference: number of public transportation passengers for Fukuoka City)
Japan’s first train ran between Shinbashi and Yokoyama on October 14, and this date has been designated Train Day. Various events are held by entities such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and railway companies in October to commemorate the date.
At least once, we all should think about the future of our Fukuoka and public transportation, such as trains, when we use them for various purposes such as for our daily commute, business trips, and travel.

09. これからの福岡発展のカギも鉄道にあり!?

テキスト:主任研究員 白浜康二





福岡市及び近郊では、西鉄 宮地岳線(一部、2007年)、JR貨物 博多臨港線(一部、1998年)、国鉄 勝田線(1985年)、国鉄 筑肥線(一部、1983年)、西鉄 福岡市内線(1979年)などが廃線となりました。廃止となった理由は様々ですが、もしも、これらの路線が現在も営業していれば、福岡の発展の姿が今とは異なるものとなっていた(一層発展していた?)かもしれません。

例えば、富山県富山市では、利用者減が続き廃線されたJR富山港線を2006年にLRT(Light Rail Transit)化し、利便性・サービスの向上や周辺のまちづくり促進に努めた結果、利用者数はLRT開業前の2~3倍に増えました。そのほか、市内電車の環状線事業化(2009年)、JR高山本線活性化社会実験(2006~11年)など鉄道の利活用促進施策と、様々なまちの整備事業を包括的に進め、中心市街地の活性化やまちなか居住回帰の効果が上がりつつあるそうです。





Image is for illustration purposes only. (Photos are taken in Fukuoka City; Photo in the article is provided by the City of Fukuoka [Fukuoka City Photo Gallery]
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