The Shinaknsen system is based on the Crash Avoidance principle, total system approach as well as effective O&M, organization, and personnel training and development developed over more than 50 years of operating experience. This has made the Shinkansen system the world safest and most reliable high-speed, high-volume and high-frequency transport system.

Crash Avoidance Principle

The Shinkansen is a standalone system based upon the Crash Avoidance principle.

This principle is the basic philosophy dictating that any possibility of a crash be completely eliminated by means of two systems: a dedicated track for high-speed rail that is free of level crossings and an ATC system (Automatic Train Control System) that categorically prevents any crashes by controlling train speed.
The high-speed rail that has developed in Europe is based upon the concept of interoperability, which allows the track to be shared with conventional lines and freight trains. This idea emphasizes existing infrastructure utilization and network expansion.

Total System Approach

Employing people's capabilities to centrally manage the tangible and intangible elements comprising the system makes it possible to integrate the entire system so as function at the highest level.

High-speed rail is a system integrating rolling stock, electric power, signals, communication systems, tracks, civil engineering structures, accident prevention and protection facilities and other tangible elements with intangible elements such as operations, maintenance, organization and personnel training and development. The Shinkansen system optimally integrates and centrally manages these elements through technological development, capital investment, business management and other capabilities exercised by the people involved. This enables the entire system to function at the highest levels in terms of safety, stability, efficiency and cost performance.


The Crash Avoidance principle and total system approach makes it possible to have transport that is unparalleled in terms of safety and reliability in addition to being efficient to operate.

General Control Center

Integrated Management
of Operations

All information about the operation of trains is centrally managed at the General Control Center. Appropriate determinations are made by operation commanders based upon accurate data to control train operations, and issue appropriate routine and emergency instructions from the center to ensure safety and reliability.

Assurance of Safety
with a Fully Dedicated Track

Facilities are in place to prevent anything from falling onto the tracks and prohibit people and vehicle from entering the area. This segregated area is continuously monitored. If an object is detected on the tracks or an individual trespasses, train operation is immediately halted to ensure safety. Also, rainfall, snowfall, wind speed, river levels and other environmental elements are watched with the help of sensors and other devices set up along railway tracks. Depending upon conditions, controls are placed on train speed or operations shutdown to protect passengers from natural disasters.

Flexible Operation Commensurate
with Demand

While the Shinkansen with the Crash Avoidance principle allows it to operate with high-frequency, the number of trains operating each day is determined in accordance with demand, making it possible for train service to meet the needs of users. Shinkansen operators obtain efficient use of their rolling stock and railway facilities, and management focuses its efforts on various business policies to maximize transport revenue.


An effective preventive maintenance system including status monitoring and standardized work time have made 50 years of safe, reliable and effective operation.

Multipurpose Inspection Train

Confirmation Car

Preventive Maintenance

Shinkansen maintenance is based on the concept of “preventive maintenance” where factors that may contribute to a failure or malfunction are eradicated before they are able to actualize. Rolling stock undergoes periodic inspections based upon the number of days in service and distance traveled. Status monitoring, which continually monitors and analyzes vehicle status, has been incorporated so as to identify potential problems in real time to prevent any failures or malfunctions. Manual inspections are performed on ground facilities, and a Multipurpose Inspection Train is run at commercial speed and performs rigorous checks to measure the extent of wear and tear of contact wires, electricity flowing through overhead contact lines, operational state of signals, track distortion, and other aspects of equipment and facilities. The periodic inspection cycles and items are reassessed based upon the accumulated data to achieve both safety and efficiency.

Standardized Work Times

The time period from the last train until the first train the next morning is blocked off for repairs and other maintenance work performed on facilities. No commercial trains are running during this time period. The complete separation of the time brackets for commercial operation and maintenance work enhances the safety, reliability and efficiency of the work. Also, before the first train departs the following morning, Confirmation Cars are run across all track sections to verify that all work has been terminated and the tracks are safe.


The Shinkansen has constructed an operational framework that ensures a high level of safety and reliability at any time.

The operational framework, rules, and managerial duties for ensuring transport safety have been prescribed to establish a system capable of handling operation and maintenance during normal times as well as enabling the entire organization to immediately and reliably deal with emergencies to assure safety. Also, third parties conduct internal safety inspections to verify daily operations, to prevent regulatory infractions, and keep rules from losing their substance before accidents happen. A strong operational framework is necessary for securing safety and reliability.

Personnel Training and Development

It is the abilities that personnel possess which in the end ensure safety. Shinkansen operators understand that personnel training and development is a very important issue, and they provide considerable education and training.

Training using simulator

“Point and calling” in Taiwan

Improvement of Knowledge
& Skills

Training improves knowledge and skills through classroom instruction taught by experts as well as hands-on practice using equipment simulating actual operations. In the field, a systematic training system is in place so that experienced veteran personnel are able to continuously hand down their skills and techniques as they offer direct guidance to less experienced personnel.

Management of Aptitude
& Qualifications

Career histories, service status, and detailed medical examinations are utilized to ascertain each employee's strong points, shortcomings as well as mental and physical condition so as to verify his or her aptitude for operations. In addition, knowledge and skill levels are managed based on qualifications set nationally, and by the operator, to maintain quality.

Improvement of Awareness
and Motivation

Training is conducted on actual rolling stock, and competitions are held for personnel to compete in their respective competencies. These activities are conducted to heighten employees' awareness of safety and enhance their motivation. In addition, group training is conducted in a communal environment to foster the discipline for following rules as well as the teamwork for cooperating with others. It is essential that personnel maintain a high awareness and motivation to maintain and improve their skills and knowledge over the long term as well as to appropriately perform their jobs.

Personnel Development Overseas

Japan has been providing crew training and technical consulting to Taiwan High Speed Rail, which started operation in 2007. “Pointing and calling,” which is part of Japan's railway culture, as well as the many rules and aspects of Japan's safety culture have been handed down, and such knowledge and skills are contributing significantly to the high level of safety of Taiwan High Speed Rail.