The year 1996, eventful with start of regular operation of Large-scale & Low-noise Wind Tunnel, official start of Yamanashi Test Center and Railway Technology Promotion Center, marked a highly significant occasion for the RTRI commemorating its 10th anniversary in December.
In this connection the RTRI announced an Open Contest for theses to be written on the subject " ; Railway Technology in the 21st Century and appealed mainly to the personnel of the RTRI and employees of other railways to discuss on how the future railway technology should be like from the perspective of technological developments and buildup of a new transportation system in the 21st century and the contest was officially declared in July with the deadline set in October.
In all, 68 papers including 22 from the RTRI, and 34 from JR companies as well as 12 from other rail operators, were presented. The contests ranged from the railway technology in general to a wide variety of topics such as traffic planning, rolling stock, power, civil engineering, infrastructure, information control. with keywords given more often such as environment, energy, aging, information, maintenance, disaster prevention.
After the deadline, the Examining Board (chaired by Yoshiji MATSUMOTO, Professor of Tokyo Physics University) met and held a session, at which 13 papers were selected as follows: Best (winners) 3, Second Best 5 and third Best 5. The titles of winners are "Rolling stock and workshops in the 21st century, "Systemization on Rigid Overhead Line, and "Dreams of a MAGLEV engineer".