Tech Upgrades in Tokyo’s Public Transportation System

As one of the most developed nations in the world, Japan is a country that never comes up short in its mature infrastructure system nor does it disappoint tourists, constantly delivering surprises. Though Japan has all the traits of a modern international nation, the country is still considered quite homogenous with regards to its ethics, culture, and language.

Tokyo, Crowds at Train Platform

Approximately 99% of the Japanese population speak Japanese as their mother tongue, and only a small fraction have mastered a second language. This language barrier is difficult for foreign travellers to overcome. The Japanese government has recognised the communication inconvenience in its public transportation system and are determined to improve it while enhancing citizens’ satisfaction when commuting using public transportation.

Tokyo, Handrails on Train

The first improvement in the Tokyo transportation infrastructure the government is tackling is the language barrier. Technology is now able to fill the gaps created by language impediment, metro conductors and officers can now use a device called the “Megaphone translator” to help foreign travellers or residents. “Real time” translation currently works for 3 languages: English, Chinese and Korean. The device is highly accurate in translating programmed precautionary and emergency notices and is relatively accurate with short to medium phrases. Currently the Megaphones do have a drawback and that is translations don’t always make sense when it comes to giving detailed directions. To remedy this drawback, metro conductors will carry a small handbook containing common English phrases . The novel tech upgrade is still in its “experimental phase” atMeiji-Jingumae station in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Japan, Bus Seats

The second tech upgrade to Tokyo public transportation system is the integration of free USB chargers in buses. No formal announcements have been released from the Tokyo’s transportation department but passengers reported spotting multiple USB charging sockets for electronic devices on many public buses.

People living in the information age are inseparable from their electronic devices. If feedback from the community is positive, then a total of 5 free of charge USB sockets will be built into every bus. ince the electricity source comes from the buses’ batteries, USB charging sockets can be mounted on buses with ease and wouldn’t cost much.

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