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Unequal regional impacts of high speed rail on the tourism industry: a simulation analysis of the effects of Kyushu Shinkansen

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Many high speed rail (HSR) routes are under construction in various cities of the world. Although tourism is one of the industries affected by HSR, not much is known about its effects on the same. This paper studies the impact of Kyushu’s HSR (Shinkansen) on tourism using computable general equilibrium modeling in the context of regional economies and transportation. The results show that the HSR has unequal effects on tourism among prefectures. The presence of these inequalities depends on whether the prefecture is a served by HSR, whether it is a terminal or an intermediate HSR station, and its current popularity with the tourists. Despite these inequalities, the economies of all the prefectures are benefited by the HSR owing to general equilibrium effects.

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  1. Although the Nagasaki route was constructed between Nagasaki and the existing railway track in Saga, we refer to the Nagasaki route as joining Fukuoka, Saga, and Nagasaki.

  2. Website of Kumamoto city referring to the development near Kumamoto station (in Japanese),

  3. The exchange rate of JPY(¥) and USD($) is ¥1 = $0.010021 in Aug 18, 2016.

  4. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (one year after the inauguration of the Kyushu Shinkansen - Kagoshima route) (in Japanese),

  5. Tourism refers to the activity of visitors. The number of tourists here includes individuals on sightseeing and business trips as well as those visiting friends and relatives. See World Tourism Organization for more information,

  6. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (Traffic movement in cities) (in Japanese),

  7. Ministry of Internal Affaires and Communications (The features of transition of the municipal number and merger in Meiji - Showa era) (in Japanese), accessed September 8, 2016,

  8. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (On the situation of Kyushu Shinkansen) (in Japanese),.


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This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 26870793.

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Correspondence to Tomoru Hiramatsu.

Appendix: purposes and modes of trips

Appendix: purposes and modes of trips

Generally, there is room for improvement in the economic modeling. The CGE model validation against real world situations is one criticism (Dwyer 2015b). The modeling in this paper also contains simplifications and leaves validity questions unanswered. One important simplification are non-modeled business trips. As explained in Sect. 3.1.4, the model in this paper considers trips, \(T_{oij}^{{}}\), between i and j for purpose o (o = 1 for work trips for commute, o = 2 for daily non-work trips for shop, and o = 3 for tourism trips). As such, containing business trips in the model is future scope for research. In this appendix, we identify data on business trips to realize the importance of expanding the model.

Tables 8 and 9 show the share of trips by different modes and purposes during weekdays and holidays, respectively, calculated from the data in “Zenkoku toshi kotsu tokusei chosa, 2010 (Exploration of features in city transportation in Japan, 2010)” (Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, 2010).Footnote 6 The analysis results are estimated by using weights from the data on 38,000 households from 70 cities and 60 assemblies. There were 786 cities and 941 assemblies in Japan in 2010.Footnote 7 The data includes inter-prefectural travel. It is possible to consider that this data present the travel trend in Japan. The shares of travel purposes during weekday (holiday) are 15.4% (3.9%) for commuting for work, 6.3% (0.8%) for commuting for school, 8.4% (2.7%) for business, 40.6% (40.3%) for returning home and 29.3% (52.3%) for personal cases. In case of distributing the trips for returning home, it is distributed to other purposes than business. The business trip by rail accounts for 0.9% (0.2%).

Table 8 The share (%) of travel modes for different purposes (weekday)
Table 9 The share (%) of travel modes for different purposes (holiday)

Limiting the mode of transport to Kyushu HSR and calculating the share of purposes from data in “Kyushu Shinkansen wo meguru jyokyo ni tuite (On the situation of Kyushu Shinkansen)” (Ministry of Land Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism 2010),Footnote 8 the share of purposes for HSR use is 29.4% for business, 8.0% for commuting, and 62.8% for others, such as returning to the home town and sightseeing. The importance of business trips and private use in Kyushu HSR is higher than that for transportation in the entire country, while the importance of commuting is not.

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Hiramatsu, T. Unequal regional impacts of high speed rail on the tourism industry: a simulation analysis of the effects of Kyushu Shinkansen . Transportation 45, 677–701 (2018).

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