"An institute open to all" has been an important item of the management philosophy of RTRI. Under this principle, RTRI has actively promoted international activities ranging over collaborative research projects, tests and researches commissioned by, or commissioned to foreign organizations, and participation in a variety of international conferences.
Regarding the collaborative research, RTRI has been advancing the following projects with overseas institutes. In 1992, RTRI started collaborative research projects on two themes with China Academy of Railway Science, which were completed in 1995. Three other projects have been implemented since 1996, and are scheduled to be finished in 1998. RTRI has also promoted four research projects with SNCF, which are to be completed within three years, and RTRI's researchers have been participating in a number of committees organized by ERRI and collaborative research projects by UIC. In addition to railway-related organizations, RTRI is sending researchers to diverse organizations including Technische Universität München in Germany, Texas Tech University in the United States, and Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fur Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V. in Germany, and they have been engaged in a wide variety of collaborative researches.
In railway R&D, real-scale performance tests and durability tests are indispensable before specific technologies are applied to commercial operation. Since there is no large-scale test line in Japan, temporary installation of ground facilities to be tested and overnight running tests are conducted utilizing certain sections of operation lines. As testing on commercial lines is restricted in many ways, however, RTRI entered into contract with Transportation Technology Center Inc. at Pueblo in the United States to borrow their test lines and has implemented durability tests for track parts and materials. Now, another running test project on the Pueblo test track is scheduled for newly-developed bogies.
In October 1992, RTRI invited R&D people of major railways around the world and hosted an international seminar on the present state and future of railway R&D in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of RTRI. Following the international seminar, representatives of major railways in Europe, the United States, and Japan decided to organize the World Congress on Railway Research. In November 1994, WCRR'94 was held in Paris with more than 1300 attendees, followed by WCRR'96 in Colorado Springs, the United States, and WCRR'97 in Florence, Italy. Currently RTRI is preparing as a host organization for WCRR'99, which is scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan, in October 1999. RTRI expects participation of a number of railway engineers from around the world, not to mention Asian countries, in WCRR'99 holding the main theme, "New Technologies Create New Opportunities for the Railways and Society of the 21st Century."
Although it is needless to say that technological development is essential for the future development of railways, the R&D resources in the field of railways are quite limited. Therefore, it is important to pursue efficient R&D efforts, seeking cooperation not only with domestic institutions but with world railway engineers. RTRI is determined to keep advancing international research collaboration into the future.