TOKYO: Toyota Motor Corp. has begun trial runs of its experimental Intelligent Multi-mode Transit System (IMTS) at its Higashifuji Technical Center in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Toyota says IMTS is a medium-distance, medium-volume transportation system combining aspects of rail and road transport. It uses train-like buses that can run automatically on dedicated thoroughfares and can also be operated manually on conventional roads. Toyota claims that the system would help reduce road congestion and help senior citizens and other people get around freely in a convenient and economical way. The system will have the flexibility to adjust to changes in demand by simply increasing or decreasing the number of buses operated by releasing or connecting mechanical couplings between the buses. Toyota says the buses, which are based on conventional mass-produced vehicles, would also incorporate newly developed low-emission compressed natural gas engines. A spokesman for the company says that the trials will continue for as long as is necessary to get the transport system up and running. He declines to say how much Toyota has spent developing the system up to now or to offer other financial details.