Tokyo is a huge, sprawling city that’s densely packed with tower blocks and tall buildings. Tokyo itself is home to around 12 million people and the wider Tokyo area is home to an almost unimaginable 35 million people – that’s over half the UK’s population.
Moving everybody and everything around with such population densities sounds impossible. But Japanese ingenuity and forward planning were on top of the problem.
The city built its first elevated urban motorway into the centre of the city back in 1962 and has since built 174 miles of expressway, with another 18 miles on the drawing board.
Although Tokyo does have some magnificently wide boulevard roads in the city centre, making a longer journey out of the area would be nightmare of junctions and traffic lights.
Which is where the expressways step in. They allow drivers on longer distance journeys to leap over the crowded city streets. The on/off ramps on the Expressways are spread out to discourage short hops. Drivers also have to pay a fixed toll of around £4 for using them.
Access is gained by driving directly under the Expressways, then up ramps and through automated toll booths.