Introduction: Expressway rest areas in Japan are public traffic facilities and, therefore, priority is placed meeting technical standards and importance is placed on quantitative improvement rather than environmental quality of the rest area. Rest areas, in the future, should be provided not just as a place to take a break during travel but a place where people of all ages and nationalities can enjoy and feel comfortable. Assessments for improving the environmental quality of public facilities such as railway stations are already underway, so, bettering the quality of rest at expressway rest areas is an issue we must tackle. The world’s only assessment index for rest area environment, the EURO TEST, is currently used to assess rest areas in Europe. About half of the assessment items in the EURO TEST concern the quality of rest, but we plan to associate all assessment items for the Japanese test to the quality of rest and are conducting research for that purpose.

Purpose: In order to improve the quality of rest, we have compiled 111 environmental assessment items which satisfy the concept of QOL and the basic guidelines of the WHO, studying literatures released by Japanese science societies. We have conduct interviews with the organization that compiled the EURO TEST and carried out field investigations to confirm the necessity and consistency of our each assessment item. Our purpose was to make an overall assessment of the findings and verify the validity of the environmental assessment items and the EURO TEST.

Method: 1) Interviews: Conducted interviews of persons in charge at EURO TEST on the 111 environmental assessment items to confirm their necessity and consistency. Detailed assessment items in the EURO TEST is not made public, therefore, we asked and confirmed their criteria and line of thinking.

2) Field investigations: Visited seven rest areas in Germany and Austria that were assessed highly in EURO TEST 2012, and confirmed which environmental assessment items are implemented.

Results and Discussions

1) “Necessity and consistency” of assessment items: “Necessary and consistent” applied to many safety, sanitation, and user-friendliness assessment items, which take up more than 20 percent of the total items. “Necessary but not consistent” applied to many items for judging comfort and sustainability, which take up more than 30 percent. The remaining 50 percent are items that “cannot be determined.” We have confirmed that 50 percent of the rest areas we visited have “cannot be determined” items.

2) Validity: The EURO TEST has 110 assessment items and we have found out from interviews that half of them concern food prices and other quantitative elements. This indicates that the number of the qualitative items in the EURO TEST and the number of items for which the degree of necessity was confirmed are about the same.

Conclusion:  The 111 environmental assessment items contain almost all of the qualitative items in the EURO TEST and, therefore, are considered valid.