Tokyo Ward Unveils System for Evacuation Shelter Info on Digital Boards; Aimed at Assisting Commuters Unable to Return Home

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Chiyoda Ward Mayor Takaaki Higuchi explains the new disaster dashboard system in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Wednesday.

The Chiyoda Ward Office and Mitsubishi Estate Co. unveiled Wednesday a system providing information on evacuation centers and such in the event of a disaster. It was the first time in Japan that the public and private sectors cooperated to create such a system.

Dubbed the disaster dashboard, the system assists commuters in the Marunouchi area of Tokyo who would be unable to return home in the event of a disaster.

The disaster dashboard provides information on the location of evacuation centers and their congestion status on about 100 electronic bulletin boards in buildings and via a QR code posted at 15 stations on 22 train lines in the Marunouchi area.

The area has a high concentration of large offices and commercial facilities, and about 42,000 commuters may not be able to return home in the event of a strong quake directly beneath the metropolitan area. If people begin moving simultaneously, there is a risk that roads may become congested, and accidents such as a stampede may occur.

Until now, there hasn’t been enough information provided to those affected to choose appropriate evacuation sites in the event they are unable to return home.

“As a pioneering model for countermeasures for those who find it difficult to return home from central Tokyo, we want to make sure that everyone can obtain information immediately after a disaster strikes,” said Chiyoda Ward Mayor Takaaki Higuchi on Wednesday.