Dr. Hisashi Kubota

Regional Transportation Planning

Safe, Secure, and Comfortable Streets in a Car-oriented Society

- Establishment of the Process of the “Development of Cities in Harmony with Transportation”, Including Simulation, Social Experiments, and Evaluation -

 

KubotaPict01

Omiya Hikawa Sando reconstructed into a pedestrian-friendly street as a result of the process of the “development of cities in harmony with transportation” over ten years

Although automobiles are very familiar to us and essential in society, only fifty years have passed since they became established in Japan. Further efforts are required to promote the development of desirable cities and pedestrian-friendly roads based on the premise of a car-oriented society.

I have been interested in streets in the car-oriented society, and conducting research to help develop streets that are appropriate for each specific region in collaboration with the citizens. It requires more than the knowledge in the fields of traffic engineering and urban planning as narrowly defined to address this issue. It is essential to discuss the issue from the viewpoints of social science, including public administration, sociology, politics, and economics, in addition to the above-mentioned fields. You should also become determined to place emphasis on both research and on-site activities by frequently visiting actual fields.

To accomplish this goal, I have been conducting this study, which I refer to as the “development of cities in harmony with transportation”, through the establishment of a process including prior assessment based on traffic simulations and social experiments.

Hikawa Sando prior to reconstruction

Hikawa Sando prior to reconstruction

In the first stage of the process, there should be opportunities for the citizens and government officials to assemble for discussions. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of workshop meetings, and facilitation in such meetings is also regarded as an important “skill” to promote the “development of cities in harmony with transportation”.

Traffic simulation is a system designed to simulate traffic situations on a network based on a table of Origin-Destination(OD) obtained from traffic surveys. It evaluates traffic-related measures in advance using easy-to-understand animations and statistical analysis methods. Our laboratory has been a leader in this research field among other Japanese research teams, and developed “tiss-NET”, a simulation system. After a specific level of feasibility is established for a measure by prior evaluation, social experiments are conducted to discuss measures to address traffic situations in actual social settings. I have been conducting studies on social experimental methods and assessment since I wrote my doctoral thesis on an experiment carried out on woonerf.

My research subjects also include evaluation methods used during and following the implementation of social experiments. My research particularly focuses on the limitations of attitude questionnaire surveys – a conventional and common survey method, from the following two aspects: (1) analyses of the characteristics of people who do not respond to questionnaire surveys (silent group) to determine their position, and (2) the development of a system to implement non-verbal evaluation, including attitude surveys, focusing on the expressions and motions of people.

I am determined to contribute to the development of safe, secure, and comfortable cities and towns through integration of engineering and social science while exploring for ideal streets in Japan.


Process
  1. Operation of workshops by the citizens and government in cooperation
  2. Assessment of measures using traffic simulation
  3. Experience, assessment, and revision through social experiments
  4. Non-verbal evaluation focusing on the expressions and motions of pedestrians
  5. Attitude surveys with the silent group taken into account (collaboration with social science)

Profile

Hisashi Kubota

Professor, Division of Environmental Science and Infrastructure Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering

Born in 1958 in Yokohama City

March 1982

Graduation from Yokohama National University (civil engineering)

March 1984

Completion of the Master’s Course of Graduate School (urban engineering), the University of Tokyo

March 1988

Completion of the Doctoral Course of Graduate School, the University of Tokyo

Received PhD. degree in Engineering

June 1988

Assistant, Faculty of Engineering, Saitama University

November 1989

Full-time Instructor,Faculty of Engineering, Saitama University

October 1992

Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Saitama University

October 1997

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University

April 2005~

Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Saitama University


Assessment of Measures by Traffic Simulation (tiss-NET)

image004

Current situation

image004

Simulation of road restrictions or one-way traffic


KubotaPict04

Process of the development of cities in harmony with transportation

Social Experiments on Traffic Systems

(Examples of Recent Activities)

image010

Omiya Hikawa Sando as a one-way street

image012

Automobiles prohibited at Shirakawa-go

image016

Kumagaya Bicycle Road

image014

Shizuoka Outdoor Café

image020

Speed MM(Mobility Management) at Jindaiji

image018

Car-free day at the West Exit of Omiya

image022

Restricted traffic at the First Street Ichibangai of Kawagoe

image024

Hump at Tokorozawa


 

Non-verbal Evaluation Based on Expressions and Motions

Analysis of expressions using smile scanning

Video-record the expressions of pedestrians walking on streets, and the levels of their smiles are determined and expressed in percentage terms (0 to 100%) using OKAO Vision.

 

KubotaPict05

KubotaPict06

KubotaPict07

Increases in the level of smiles observed in a vehicle-free area

KubotaPict08