[MLIT] "Standards for Facilitating Smooth Transportation" Revised in Order to Introduce Wheelchair Space in Bullet Trains

On October 30th, 2020, the MLIT announced the revision of the “Standards for Facilitating Smooth Transportation” and “Guidelines for the Development of Barrier-Free Environments”. These revisions were made based on the "New Measures to Create Barrier-Free Environments on the Bullet Trains", published on August 28th, 2020, which aimed to make the bullet trains the most accessible in the world. Their accessibility is also planned to be part of the legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games. Public transportation companies must comply with the Standards for Facilitating Smooth Transportation when they introduce new facilities or vehicles. The Guidelines for the Development of Barrier Free Environments are maintenance guidelines for facilities and vehicles for public transportation companies. In these revisions, a couple of points regarding wheelchair spaces and seats on the intercity railroad were amended as follows.

1. Basic concept of "wheelchair spaces"

"Wheelchair spaces" will be created in order to respond to the various needs of wheelchair users, such as travelling with caregivers, needing to transfer to the adjacent seat during travel, or travelling as a group.

2. The number of wheelchair spaces

The number of wheelchair spaces per train is set as follows, according to its capacity.

Number of seats per train

Number of wheelchair spaces

Carriage series


1001seats or more

At least 6 spaces

Tokaido and Sanyo route’s N700 series carriage

The number of wheelchair spaces does not include Multipurpose Rooms.


500~1000 seats

At least 4 spaces

Hokkaido and Tohoku route’s E5 and H5 series carriages

Less than 500 seats

At least 3 spaces

Yamagata route’s E8 series carriage, etc.

The above rule will apply from July 1st, 2021. For more information, please visit the following website. https://www.mlit.go.jp/report/press/sogo09_hh_000253.html