Process Management in Public Transit Planning: Case Study of Introduction Project of Light Rail Transit in Toyama, Japan

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, organisation - management, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - mass transit


Transportation planning, Transit, Toyama (Japan), Stakeholders, Public transit, Process management, Policy making, Mass transit, Management, Local transit, Local government, Light rail transit, Leadership, Case studies


This paper analyzes a policy-making process and discusses the role of policy process management in a public transit project. There has been no well-organized public transit planning done by local government in Japan, mainly because there is no national program for statutory local public transit planning in Japan. The Toyama light rail transit (LRT) project is one of the exceptional cases in which a local government has tackled local public transit planning. The planning process in this project is unveiled through intensive interviews with local stakeholders. The focus is on the framing recognized by the stakeholders. First, the process is classified into four phases. Next, stakeholder behaviors, the main agenda, the framework recognized by the stakeholders, and meetings in each phase are analyzed. The policy process management of the Toyama city government is examined, and the factors influencing the successful introduction of LRT are discussed from the viewpoint of policy management. In summary, three factors are involved: technology and topography, financial resources, and policy process management. Well-organized policy process management contributes to smooth consensus building; in this case, the process manager made the best use of the technological and topographical and financial factors and consequently guided the stakeholders to a consensus. Finally, the lessons learned from the Toyama LRT case are discussed. The following key factors, each of which influences the policy-making process, are described: appropriate vision setting and strong leadership, meeting management, viewpoint shift under certain constraints, the involvement of experts, and the framing arrangement vis-à-vis individual negotiation.