No.43 In 2021


Slope Car: an Attractive Vehicle that Moves Slowly Down a Slope for Everyone


KAHO Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

Reason for award

The Slope Car is a straddle-seat type slope-running monorail developed and manufactured by KAHO Manufacturing Co., Ltd. It is characterized by its ability to maintain the level of the cabin floor in a horizontal position even on a variable slope, which allows for a high degree of freedom in installation along the topography, and the narrow distance between the platform and the car facilitates the loading and offloading of wheelchairs and baby carriages/strollers. Although vehicles for small groups have been mainly installed for private homes, lodging facilities, temples, etc. located on slopes, recently 40-seat vehicles have been installed in parks, etc., showing an interesting development as a barrier-free means of transportation.

In particular, the Nagasaki Inasayama Slope Car, which started operation in 2020, is a large-scale two-car vehicle with 40 seats in each car. It traverses a distance of 520 meters between the parking lot in the middle of Mt. Inasa and the top of the mountain in about eight minutes. The combination of its sophisticated design and the spectacular view of Nagasaki from the vehicle window is one of the main tourist attractions. The design of the vehicle is by KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN, which is led by Kiyoyuki Okuyama, an industrial designer who has worked for Ferrari, etc. The exterior is based on a black color scheme that emphasizes harmony with nature, and is painted with a mirror finish to reflect the trees. The interior has a wooden floor and tree-shaped pillars to resemble a forest. As the existing ropeway from the foot of the mountain to Mt. Inasa had become severely congested, the Nagasaki Inasayama Slope Car is expected to become one of the most attractive routes. Slope cars are a niche mobility technology that differs from tracks such as monorails. They do not require building permits because they are installed outdoors, away from buildings, and they do not require frequent periodic inspections because of their very small transport capacity, speed, and extension. In addition, they do not require a driver and can run at the touch of a button. This reduces the time and cost required for installation and operation. At the same time, the slope cars have continued to have no accidents thanks to the voluntary efforts of the manufacturing company in safety measures such as risk analysis at the time of design, inspection at the time of shipment, and regular maintenance after delivery. Although the speed of the vehicle is comparable to walking speed, in recent years, it has developed and spread as a vehicle that can carry a relatively large number of people, thus expanding the possibilities of mobility on slopes.
Slope cars and other transportation technologies such as monorails and elevators that run on slopes are expected to continue to develop and spread widely on the slopes in many parts of Japan. For this reason, I would like to nominate this company as a candidate for the Achievement Award for their outstanding achievements in raising awareness for the realization of ideal traffic safety.

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