How the Road Construction Industry is Destroying Japan

How the "road tribes" — the impenetrable scrum of bureaucrats, politicians and industry that benefit from an ever-expanding program of road construction — are literally paving the road to national ruin in Japan.

"The results have been a disaster. Certainly, Japan has a lot of roads: four to five times the number of any other Group of Seven country when measured by kilometers of road to usable land. The trouble is, a lot of these roads are in places where they are not needed. The country has an impressive network of toll roads that will never be profitable. It has expressways that connect industrial parks to ports and airports that industries do not want to use, and monumental bridges that suck people and money out of rural towns rather than reviving them. Yet despite decades worth of road and other infrastructure projects, projects that people actually need remain undone: In 2007 the government identified 110,000 km of roads where there was a high risk of accidents because, for example, children used them to walk to school (including 40,000 km of streets lacking separated sidewalks!). Adding sidewalks to streets used by small children simply doesn't fit the agenda of the road tribes as well as a four-lane expressway to nowhere does."

Full Story: Japan's many roads to ruin

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95