Photo/IllutrationThe Harumi Entrance of the Metropolitan Expressway in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward is closed as part of a daylong test of traffic control for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on July 24. (Ryo Ikeda)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

With one year to go before the Tokyo Olympics, tests are under way in the capital to alleviate the massive traffic and train congestion expected during the international sports event.

On July 24, four entrances of the Metropolitan Expressway were closed throughout the day and traffic was partially restricted at some toll booths leading to the center of Tokyo.

For surface roads, traffic signals were adjusted to restrain traffic flow to the heart of the capital.

Tokyo metropolitan government employees also started a trial teleworking run from July 22, another measure to help ease commuting congestion.

On the exterior of the metropolitan government’s No. 1 main building in the capital’s Shinjuku Ward, the humongous checkered emblems of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are displayed prominently.

Inside, most of the desks at the Personnel Division of the Bureau of General Affairs, which are typically filled with about 130 workers, were vacant and the floor was quiet.

About 90 percent of the division's staff arrived for work during non-rush hours or are working from home.

The metropolitan government also requested that private companies allow their employees to arrive at the office during off-peak times.

It encouraged about 10,000 metropolitan government employees to try the campaign, until Aug. 30, of off-peak commuting by not using public transportation during rush hour from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., or teleworking from home or working at other off-site locations.

An employee in his 30s who teleworked for the first time praised the trial.

“Without my hour-and-a-half commute each way, we were able to have breakfast as a family with all four members for the first time in a while,” he said.