Oct. 01, 2012

TMC Begins Testing Optimized Urban Transport System


Toyota City, Japan, October 1, 2012―Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), in cooperation with the Toyota City municipal government, transportation companies and others1, began tests here today of an optimized urban transportation system called "Ha:mo"2.  The system will select optimal means of transport for users based on the operational status of public transport systems and traffic conditions.  Vehicle-sharing stations are to be installed at four locations within Toyota City, providing a car-sharing service using "COMS" ultra-compact single-occupant electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured by Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd.

The term Ha:mo is being given to TMC-developed systems that seek to provide user-, town-, and community-friendly transport support through the effective use of public transportation in combination with motor vehicles and other forms of personal mobility.  The system for the tests comprises two elements: "Ha:mo Navi", which links individual users, transportation system operators and communities to enable searches for seamless yet low-emission transport routes, and "Ha:mo Ride", an ultra-compact EV sharing service designed to accommodate short-distance travel in urban areas.

1. Ha:mo Navi
Ha:mo Navi provides transportation alternatives and encourages use of optimal transport methods based on forecasts of transportation supply and demand, and also links independently operated public transportation and cars.  Operation of the following Ha:mo Navi services will begin in October 2012:

1) Multi-modal route guide for smartphones that searches for the optimal combination of multiple means of transport―such as trains, buses, cars and taxis―while taking into consideration traffic congestion.
2) Provision of park-and-ride facility information (such as parking space availability) when personal vehicle use is included in a search.
3) Provision of "eco-points" based on park-and-ride facility and public transportation use.

In the near future, the route information provided by Ha:mo Navi will be combined with the EV sharing information provided by Ha:mo Ride to give users access to integrated route information, travel-history-based recommendations and such information as to encourage dynamic and flexible operation of services by bus and other Ha:mo Ride operators.  In addition, collaboration with the energy data management system (EDMS) pilot program being conducted in Toyota City will aim to lower overall transportation-system energy use.  The collaboration will include transportation route calculations that consider the battery status of plug-in hybrid vehicles of households participating in the project, as well as regional electric power demand.

2. Ha:mo Ride
Ha:mo Ride will seek to provide both transport convenience for users and benefit for society by supporting the optimal use of vehicle and public transportation for short-distance (within a few kilometers) travel from a train station to the user's destination through the sharing of ultra-compact EVs.  The initiative is also a part of EDMS trials for effective vehicle-battery use.

Starting in October 2012, unmanned vehicle-sharing stations will be established at four locations in Toyota City―two at Chukyo University and one each at Josui Station on the Nagoya Railroad and Kaizu Station on the Aichi Loop Line.  A one-way-travel car-sharing service will run among the vehicle stations with ten ultra-compact COMS EVs.  The service will initially be available to approximately 100 members made up of Chukyo University students and employees, who will use smartphones for vehicle reservations and IC cards for vehicle access.  To promote wide and regular use, there will be no charge for the first year of service.

Plans call for the service area to be extended throughout central Toyota City, with the number of stations to be increased to between 10 and 20, the number of vehicles to approximately 100 and the number of members to approximately 1,000.  At that time, Ha:mo is planned to be changed to a fee-based service.  Inclusion of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. electric commuter bikes and electrically power assisted bicycles in the system is also being considered.  TMC also plans, within an EDMS framework, to promote off-peak power use through the management of vehicle charging.

The Ha:mo tests were selected as part of the Next-Generation Energy and Social System Demonstration Projects sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and are being conducted under the Toyota City Low-Carbon Verification Project.

Ha:mo Navi smartphone application home screen (left) and suggested route screen (right)

Ha:mo Navi smartphone application
home screen (left) and suggested
route screen (right)

Ha:mo Ride EV-sharing station

Ha:mo Ride EV-sharing station

1The tests will be conducted with the cooperation of the following parties (in alphabetical order): Aichi Loop Line Co., Ltd.; Aichi Rapid Transit Co., Ltd.; Chukyo University, Hitachi, Ltd.; Meitetsu Bus Co., Ltd.; Meitetsucom, Co., Ltd.; Meitetsu Kyosho, Ltd.; Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd.; Toyota City; Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
2Representative of a "harmonious mobility" network, suggesting mobility that achieves harmony among people and where they live.