The History of IATSSAbout IATSS

Since its foundation in 1974, the IATSS has proactively conducted a range of activities as an international and interdisciplinary research organization specializing in transportation. In the following, we will briefly look back at the history of the Association.

[ Initial Period ] From 1974

In the 1970s when the IATSS was founded, Japan was being rapidly motorized and it was becoming urgent to solve problems related to traffic safety and exhaust emissions from automobiles, etc. as well as energy problems caused by the oil crisis. Against this backdrop, the Association was established as Japan’s first interdisciplinary research institute in the field of transportation and began conducting a range of research activities. Through the Association, researchers in relevant fields discussed common themes with each other to deepen their mutual understanding and to create a vision for the future of the mobile society. By disseminating the results widely to the public, the IATSS contributed greatly to solving various problems. During this period the foundation for the Association’s activities was established.

[ Period of Expansion ] From 1985

During this period, the IATSS further developed its research activities on transportation-related issues and realizing that the future of the mobile society was a common theme for people across the world, proactively provided opportunities for international discussion. In order to contribute to countries that would become motorized in the future, the Association went ahead with exchanges with researchers in Asian countries. Specifically, we started the International Scientific Initiatives on Road Traffic (ISIRT) for researchers in Japan, the United States and Europe to discuss issues in an interdisciplinary manner. In addition, we started a project through which Japanese and Chinese researchers could continue discussions on relevant themes, and in 1984 the IATSS Forum’s first seminars were started and exchanges with researchers in Southeast Asia were also launched.

[ Period of Transformation ] From 1995

During this period, Japanese society was badly affected by the collapse of the bubble economy, while following the maturation of the mobile society, new themes to be tackled began to be identified in the transportation field, including issues related to the environment, barrier-free facilities, community planning with the participation of local inhabitants, and informatization. The IATSS reviewed its management methods in response to revisions to the law on the authorization of public interest incorporated associations and foundations, and improved the system by which it proposes research themes and introduces medium- to long-term research themes. Also, we strengthened practical international exchanges with researchers mainly in Asia. Through these measures we reviewed the essential purpose of the Association and adjusted and transformed our activities.

[ Period of Development ] From 2005

In the 2000s, Japanese society matured and society’s needs also became more sophisticated. In the transportation field, the focus shifted from the enhancement of functions, and the mobile society began to be reviewed from the viewpoint of “culture.” Comfort and aesthetics in the mobile society were beginning to be regarded as important themes. In this period of development, the IATSS was transformed into a public interest incorporated foundation in April 2011. Grasping this opportunity, we aim to enhance our activities, and with our research activities in particular we will continue to contribute to society by creating a clearer vision for the future and making more policy proposals.