Since Tokaido Shinkansen, the world's and Japan's first high-speed rail, opened in 1964, it has been Japan's high speed rail system, the Shinkansen, that has taken pride in achieving a record of absolute safety with no one ever having been killed or injured as the result of a railway accident. The Shinkansen continues to provide safe and stable transportation unparalleled anywhere in the world. The Shinkansen system, whose trains run at high speed and high frequency between major cities in Japan and deliver outstanding environmental performance, is the ultimate high speed rail system in the world, combining reliability and efficiency.
This outstanding high speed rail system is based on the principle of “crash avoidance.” This principle eliminates the possibility of a crash by means of two mechanisms. The track is used exclusively for high-speed passenger rail and has no level crossings, and the Automatic Train Control (ATC) system controls train speed to definitively prevent any collisions.
Japan has acquired a high level of technical competence through continued operation of its high speed rail system over half a century. Also, by connecting urban areas with high-quality transportation service which translates into high-speed, large volume and high frequency, Japan has gained valuable experience on account of the economic innovation that has occurred regionally and nationwide.
In recent years, addressing global warming and energy issues has been a pressing agenda. In countries around the world, interest has surged in high-speed rail, which is an environmentally superior mode of transportation, and many high-speed rail projects are in the planning stage.
Against such a global panorama and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Tokaido Shinkansen, the International High-Speed Rail Association was established to advance efforts to institute Japan's high speed rail system based on the principle of “crash avoidance” as the international standard.
Through this commitment, the Association will aim to contribute to worldwide development of high-speed rail by promoting international cooperation while sharing information and knowledge with countries, which aspire to have a safe high speed rail system, as well as adapting such expertise to the actual circumstances in each region.
Promote globally high speed passenger rail safety and efficiency of operations through the principles of crash avoidance. The Association recognizes that the circumstances in each region differ, and may in some cases preclude, complete crash avoidance safety standard adoption. The Association strives to promote safe operation and efficiency of high speed passenger rail systems through the sharing of information and knowledge of crash avoidance high speed rail principles and experience with countries and entities aiming to develop safe high-speed rail systems.
Articles of Incorporation, Article 3
IHRA helps to promote Crash Avoidance safety concepts, so that countries, which are considering high-speed rail projects, would be able to understand how a high-speed rail system based on Crash Avoidance would be different from European high-speed rail systems, and would understand the various advantages of Crash Avoidance high-speed rail.
IHRA strives to contribute to global high-speed rail developments through its activities, hopefully to help countries and groups, which have high-speed rail projects, through a better understanding of the importance of the underlying safely principles involved.
Additional an IHRA Forum will be held biennially to promote safe and efficient high-speed rail worldwide.