New Accessibility Program Boosts Tokyo 2016

Tokyo’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games got a boost with a new program beginning this month which incorporates 112 individual projects. It’s the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s (TMG) program which implements design projects based on universal accessibility over a five-year period.

All 112 projects utilize innovative design concepts, which, according to a Tokyo 2016 press release, will enhance Tokyo’s status as a barrier-free city in which everyone can reach their full potential.

Tokyo 2016 says it will introduce its own set of “unique” innovations to further enhance the Games experience for athletes, visitors and officials with disabilities. The Paralympic Village, IBC/MPC media facilities, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) hotels and almost all competition venues will be located within an eight km. radius of the Olympic Stadium.

Should Tokyo host the 2016 Games, travel times for 75 per cent of the Paralympians will be less than 10 minutes between their accommodation and competition venues.

Under the Traffic-Barrier Free Law of 2000, which was reinforced in 2006, every subway station in Tokyo and nine other major cities must provide at least one barrier-free route from entrance to platform by 2010.

Tokyo opened its first fully barrier-free subway in 2000, and most Tokyo stations already provide textured paving for users with visual impairments. Every station on the Toei Oedo line offers not only elevators and escalators, but also double handrails, station maps with audio readout, Braille tiles, extra-wide ticket gates and restroom facilities for wheelchair users. The 2006 law also introduced standards for barrier-free taxis and legislated for the introduction of the 25,000 accessible buses operating in the country.

Dr. Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO of Tokyo 2016 said, “Tokyo 2016 is deeply committed to creating an ultra-compact, barrier-free Olympic and Paralympic Games in the heart of what is already one of the world’s most accessible cities. The concept of universal participation in everything society has to offer pervades our laws and our spirit”.