From a February 21, 2010 article in the Mainichi Daily News in Japan:
An official at Toyota Motor Corp. has presented proposals to the central and local governments to install 250,000 kilometers of cycling lanes across Japan over the next five years in a bid to reduce accidents involving cyclists.
The proposals were presented by Akira Watari, a 63-year-old member of Toyota’s IT & ITS planning division, which aims to reduce accidents and ease traffic congestion through intelligent transport systems that make use of information technology.
After conducting observations in Europe, Watari reached the conclusion that the installation of cycling lanes was essential to prevent accidents between motorists and cyclists.
“The establishment of cycling lanes is the most effective way to enable motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to coexist,” Watari said.
The central message here isn’t new, but you don’t typically hear support for bicycle infrastructure from auto makers, and you certainly never expect them to be leading the discussions.
I’m wondering about how Watari’s involvement in the IT & ITS planning for Toyota is related to his proposal. Does the presence of cyclists on the roadway make the deployment or effectiveness of ITS solutions more difficult?