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  • Seoul runs city buses based on demand and adjusts the bus lanes based on big data

  • SMG 591
    • This plan will be implemented based on usage data of transportation card, bus operation data, and big data showing changes in transportation and living environment
    • Among the entire 354 bus lanes, some regular bus lanes will be adjusted by identifying the lanes and big data analysis will be implemented to come up with a plan which will be deliberated by the citizen committee about bus policy
    • Seoul will come up with circular bus lanes tailored to the urban environment considering the tourism, shopping, leisure and culture activities based on a comprehensive big data analysis

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, October 17, 2019 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to adjust some of the regular city bus routines among 354 city bus lanes focusing on areas with high demand of citizens.

    This plan will be implemented based on usage data of transportation card, bus operation data, and big data showing changes in transportation and living environment.

    This scheme aims to scientifically analyze a traffic pattern by time, section and region and passenger demand, providing demand-oriented public transportation services and solve the imbalanced bus supply.

    Among the entire bus lanes, some of the regular bus lanes will be adjusted by identifying the lanes with demand for change from stakeholders like citizens, autonomous regions and bus unions. And big data analysis will be implemented to come up with a plan which will be deliberated by the citizen committee about bus policy.

    ※ Period and bus lanes: September to December 2019 / all city bus lanes

    Period and bus lanes: September to December 2019 / all city bus lanes
    Category Total Metropolitan Artery Local Circular Late night(owl)
    Number of lanes 354 10 124 208 3 9

    ※ Process and timeline of bus lane adjustment
    ① Identifying and selecting lanes		② Analyzing big data and collecting opinions		③ Deliberating and advertising changed lanes		④ Operation begins
• Opinions of city council members and citizens
• Opinions of autonomous districts
• Identified by the city on its own
• Request from bus companies and unions	 	• Analyzing data of transportation card and overlapped lanes
• Collecting opinions of stakeholders
• On-site check	 	• Deliberation and resolution of citizen’s committee on bus policy (lane adjustment unit)
• Advertise the result of lane change	 	• Order of project improvement
• Bus operators start operation
• Monitoring
(Sep - Oct)		(Oct - Nov)		(Nov - Dec)		(Dec – Jan 2020)

    ○ The citizens’ committee on bus policy comprise of citizens, bus operators, transportation experts, representatives of citizen groups and the city council members.
    The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that the changed bus lanes will be operated from this December after a thorough preparation with full-scale publicity about the changes to citizens. Currently, the city government is collecting various opinions from citizens about bus lane changes via each autonomous district.

    This plan will be implemented by adjusting the lanes which were not been able to be adjusted due to conflict of interest; the lanes that were operated inefficiently due to the changing living and transportation conditions; the long-distance lanes which need to be changed due to the 52 working hour policy; and to introduce the city circular buses.

    First, the lanes will be adjusted based on civil complaints which were not been able to solve due to a conflict of interest. So far, there have been some unsettled civil complaints due to an intensive conflict of interest. The city government will reflect these complaints and collect opinions from all autonomous districts involved in the lanes and bus operators. Also, with big data analysis, the city government will adjust bus lanes based on objective base data.

    Second, lanes with inefficiency will be adjusted as well. The inefficiency is typically created by changed living and transportation conditions such as the building of large apartment complexes and city railways like subway and light rails. Seoul will consider a plan to operate demand-oriented buses by expanding the lanes of “Squirrel Buses” (rush hour tailored buses) to meet the passenger’s demand during commuting hour in the morning and “Owl Buses” (late night buses) to provide citizens convenience. It is to operate demand-oriented buses

    Third, according to the Labor Act of Korea, Seoul will decrease the number of long-distance lanes in order to promote the 52 working hour system. In addition, the city government will improve the poor working conditions of bus drivers by introducing new work policies like flexible working hour programs.

    There are 17 long-distance lanes with over 60km of operation distance and over 24 operation hours. So far, it has not been easy to adjust lanes due to residents’ complaints despite the city government’s effort to break down the lanes and reduce the operation distance. Seoul will reflect residents’ opinions as much as possible while decreasing the bus lanes based on a fair deliberation by the citizens’ committee on bus policy (lane adjustment unit) comprising of citizens and experts if the case is reasonable.

    Fourth, Seoul will come up with new transportation options by newly designating 2-3 urban circular bus lanes. It aims to minimize the inconvenience of citizens’ transportation in line with the green zone policy that bans the urban entry of diesel vehicles, for better air quality. The city circular bus lanes will be designated in order to prevent citizens’ inconvenience caused by the city’s ban on diesel vehicles in the green transportation zones and the limit on operation of general vehicles. With this program, citizens can use buses and subways without hassle along with walk and using bicycles to enjoy the urban life. So far, in the city bus segment, the passenger’s demand has been an important factor in bus lane planning from a profit-making perspective.

    However, for these zones, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will come up with circular bus lanes fully tailored to the urban environment considering the tourism, shopping, leisure and culture activities based on a comprehensive big data analysis about vehicle traffic, communication data, the number of tourists, and traffic courses. As such, the new lanes will connect major tourist destinations in Seoul including historical and cultural destinations like old palaces, museums and Namsan Mountain and shopping centers.