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Commuter Rail Round Table

Initiatives for the Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic and Strategies to Ensure the Resilience of Commuter Rail Companies in the U.S. and Japan

A virtual event hosted by APTA and JTTRI, and organized with JITTI USA

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021


Summary of the event

 The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the management of railroad industries in both the U.S. and Japan, as it has led to an increase in teleworking, changes in shopping behavior, and a sharp decline in tourist traffic. Railroad companies in both countries are faced with decisions on how to respond to the drastic changes in user behavior and how to ensure the resilience of their business operations in the future, a topic of great interest among transportation professionals in both countries.

 APTA (American Public Transportation Association), JTTRI, and JITTI USA held a virtual round table on December 8th, 2021 to exchange their views and to discuss the above issues.

 At the event, senior executives of major U.S. commuter rail operators presented their latest strategies, including the need for a new interpretation of security and safety, flexible fare options to accommodate changing work patterns, and the need to improve the customer experience. From the Japan side, senior executives from leading railroad companies presented their latest initiatives, including measures to disperse passengers during peak hours in consideration of diversifying user lifestyles, measures to utilize space inside stations such as the development of shared offices, and measures to improve the cost structure.

 This meeting was held as a closed session between people in the industry and the governments of both countries. A total of 108 people participated.

Opening Remarks


Paul Skoutelas

President and Chief Executive Officer, American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

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Masafumi Shukuri

Chairman of the Board, Japan International Transport and Tourism Institute, USA (JITTI USA)

Chairman, Japan Transport and Tourism Research Institute (JTTRI)

Moderator & Presenter: General Overview of the U.S. Commuter Railway

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Matthew O. Tucker

Executive Director, North County Transit District

Presenters from the U.S.

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Jim Derwinski

Chief Executive Officer, Metra

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Catherine Rinaldi

President, Metro-North Railroad

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Michelle Bouchard

Acting Executive Director, Caltrain

Presenter: General Overview of Japan’s Commuter Railway


Tetsuya Okuda

President, Japan International Transport and Tourism Institute, USA (JITTI USA)

Presenters from Japan

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Hitoshi Saimyo

Senior Executive Officer, East Japan Railway Company

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Fumiaki Shiroishi

Representative Director and Vice President,Tokyu Railways

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Akihiro Kosaka

Senior Managing Director, Tokyo Metro

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