Japan's transport ministry has released interim findings on traffic volume in its experiment to make some expressways toll-free.
The experiment to make 50 sections of 37 expressways toll-free started on June 28th. The ministry released the results on traffic volume up to July 25th.
The ministry says average traffic volume on toll-free sections of the expressways doubled compare to one week before the start of the experiment.
Among highways seeing increased traffic, the ministry says a section of the Tohoku-Chuo Expressway in Yamagata prefecture was 4.5 times busier on weekdays.
The ministry also reports that traffic on 50 national routes that run parallel to toll-free expressway sections decreased by 20 percent compared to before the experiment.
The ministry asked about 280 transportation companies about the experiment. 36 percent said toll-free expressways had good effects including time and cost saving, while 7 percent said the experiment produced bad effects.
But the ministry says effects on public transport and tourism could not be identified in just one month as traffic volumes are also affected by weather. It plans to continue the experiment until March.