The history of intelligent transportation in Japan can be traced back to 1973 when its first ITS project -- Comprehensive Automobile Control System (CACS) was developed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ((METI). Later in the 1980s, increasing pressure in traffic congestion, road safety and pollution gave rise to a series of ITS projects, including Road/Automobile Communication System (RACS), Advanced Mobile Traffic Information & Communication System (AMTICS), and Advanced Road Transportation System (ARTS). In 1994, Vehicle, Road and Traffic Intelligence Society (VERTIS) was jointly established by five ministries for the promotion of intelligent transportation in Japan. In July 1995, the Center of Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) was founded, and was officially launched in April 1996.
In July 1996, the five ministries jointly formulated the Comprehensive Plan for Intelligent Transport System in Japan for its long-term development. It is a twenty-year plan that outlines the long-term ITS development direction and system architecture, and specifies nine key research and development priorities: advanced navigation system, electronic toll collection, driver assistance system, traffic management optimization, road management optimization, public traffic support system, commercial vehicle efficiency optimization, pedestrian support system, and emergency vehicle operation. Significant social and economic benefits were witnessed due to the deployment of a series of ITS applications and projects. Figures show that the death toll caused by traffic accidents have been decreasing consecutively, with fatalities dropping at the first time lower than 5,000 in 2009.
In recent years, intelligent transportation in Japan is in rapid development. By March 2020, the utilization rate of highway ETC reaches 92.9%, and approximately 4.93 million vehicles are installed with On-board Unit (OBU) ETC2.0. Compared with ETC1.0., the OBU ETC2.0 can interact with the Roadside Unit ETC2.0 in real time. More functions are provided such as real-time traffic jam warning and route guidance. In the White Paper on Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism 2020, MaaS as a service that integrates searching, reservations, payments, etc. into one by optimally combining multiple public transportation and other mobility services through smartphone apps and websites is highlighted with 19 pilot projects, aiming to solve mobility issues and revitalize regional areas through social implementation of this new mobility services.