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  • “Policy Where There is Demand,” Seoul Utilizes Big Data

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    The Owl Bus, which was launched with two routes in April 2013, has now, with the support of Seoul citizens, expanded to nine routes and is currently roaming the streets of Seoul. Topping the list of ten of the most popular news stories selected by Seoul citizens, the Owl Bus is considered the most successful policy that the city has customized for the people.

    Read an article about the Owl Bus

    The city was able to map out bus routes that would be the most efficient and most frequently used by analyzing the content of about three billion calls through “Big Data.”

    Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to make vigorous use of Big Data in policy development, and through scientific analytics, it will provide customized administrative services and reduce wasteful spending.

    Seoul Metropolitan Government is also utilizing Big Data to ① analyze the use of leisure and welfare facilities for the elderly and ② find appropriate locations to deliver information about the city administration. For the analysis, the following data were used: 1) commuting population by hour and day analyzed through over ten billion communications statistics, 2) resident population, 3) estimated income, 4) facilities for the elderly, 5) sidewalk and street networks, and 6) working population.

    The metropolitan government will analyze the characteristics of the use of facilities for the elderly over 60 years of age by district, distribution status, demand and supply, and usage pattern, and make use of the data in the expansion of leisure and welfare facilities for the elderly. For instance, nine out of ten elderly people (89%) are using facilities within the districts they reside, and only 4.5% of the elderly make use of more than two facilities. Furthermore, 63.6% of all users frequent facilities within 16 to 17 minutes walking distance from their homes, and about 20% of all users preferred to use better facilities farther away.


    In addition, to search for appropriate locations to deliver information about the city administration, the metropolitan government switched to an administrative information system, which used to be maintained as a Microsoft Excel worksheet. The whole city has been divided into grids that contain information about commuters, such as sex, time, and age, as well as information about the resident population and the facilities.

    Through this, the city plans to analyze the areas where population is most concentrated and place informational materials about the city administration that is tailored to each area.


    The Seoul Metropolitan Government is also undertaking a “Taxi Matchmaking Project” by analyzing the data related to taxi stands and passengers. The project aims to make it easier for passengers to find empty taxis and taxis to find business. Also, the city plans to implement policies that will provide tangible benefits to the people by using Big Data as a tool for administrative decision-making and ensuring the safety of citizens, such as creating policies to reduce and prevent accidents through the analysis of accident black spots.