currently taking a class called Urban Transportation: Problems & Policy. we have to write blog posts every week on an international city in additional other topics.
my groupmate and i chose seoul, south korea. i copied my most recent post below because some of you might be interested. yeah, south korea’s got some bad stuff going on like high student suicide rates, internet addiction, the normalization of plastic surgery, etc.. but their environmental and transportation policy is looking great!
Seoul and Climate Change
In 2005, the Seoul Metropolitan Government recognized the need to respond to climate change and created a global environment team to tackle the issue. The team set a target of reducing greenhouse gases emissions by 20% by 2010 and 25% by 2020 of the 1990 levels.
Seoul’s four-year plan (2006-2010) called A Clean and Attractive Seoul: Environment of Seoul [PDF] outlines actions to improve the urban environment for its citizens as well as the natural environment. Actions relating to transportation include:
- Carrying out water-based road cleaning to reduce dust…
- Increasing the supply of low-polluting energy, including solar and geothermal power.
- Installing screen doors on platforms of all subway stations.
- Outfitting about 210,000 diesel vehicles in operation with pollution mitigation devices (DPF or DOC) or replacing with LPG engines.
- Replacing 7,054 city buses with CNG buses by 2010 and increase number of CNG recharging stations…
- Providing more convenient public transit to reduce vehicular traffic.
- Increasing the number of vehicles participating in the No-Drive Day Campaign to 2 million by 2010.
Weekly Car-free Days
Seoul’s Weekly No-Driving Day (승용차요일제) is a voluntary program in which participants choose one weekday as their no-driving day. They register online and then receive an e-tag for their car that the city can monitor with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) for verification and compliance. Every year, two million cars stay off the road — decreasing traffic volume by 3.7%. CO2 vehicle emissions are reduced by 10% — a total of 2 million tons of CO2 annually. In addition to saving drivers money from fuel costs, the program also helps the city save millions ($USD) in health care costs due to improved air quality.
The success of the No-Driving Day program stems from its incentive structure. The public sector offers active participants: 5% reduction in auto tax, 50% discount on congestion charge, and 10-20% discount on public parking fees. Private sector sponsors offer: 1 to 6 cents/L discount on gasoline price, 10% discount on car maintenance cost, and free or discount on car washes. The participation rate in the program is 30% of all eligible vehicles, and the central government is now seeking to spread the No-Driving Day program across the country.
Annual and Monthly Car-free Days
The World Car Free Network started a campaign in Seoul and celebrated the city’s first International Car-free Day in 2006. These car-free days are similar to open streets events such as Ciclovia and Sunday Streets. The closure of the main street in Sejongno, central Seoul to vehicular traffic (except for buses) and opening to people has been held once a year, then expanded to once a month, and as of September 2013 expanded to twice a month. The Korea Herald [20.08.13] reports that the city is even considering making the pedestrian-only zone a weekly occurrence.
also: 4,300 people in a neighborhood in Suwon, 30km south of Seoul, went car-free for a month! shareable, 23.09.13.