Seoul Accessible Buses, First in the Country to Provide Free Shuttle Bus Service for Improved Mobility to Vaccination Centers The SMG became the first local government in Korea to introduce free shuttle bus service via Seoul Accessible Bus for persons with disabilities getting COVID-19 vaccines. A total of two buses provide free daily service to and from vaccination centers. Seoul Accessible Bus started its shuttle bus service on July 8, and is available during weekdays. Welfare facilities can collect four or more passengers, and book reservations through the SMG’s Reservation for Public Service website. Round-trip bus times are 9 AM and 2 PM, and each trip can take up to 16 passengers. The SMG plans to operate the Seoul Accessible Bus during the vaccination period in the third quarter this year, and then decide whether to continue the service in the fourth quarter Seoul, First in the Country to Tow Illegally Parked Shared Electric Scooters Starting July 15 The SMG will be the first local government in Korea to tow illegally parked electric scooters on roads and pedestrian paths. As of June, there were 14 businesses and 55,499 units of shared electric scooters registered in Seoul. Although electric scooters facilitate increased mobility and convenience for citizens as a new mode of transportation, it has also become a new hazard that deteriorates pedestrian environments and causes safety accidents due to reckless parking. In response to this, the SMG took the initiative to tow illegally parked electric scooters. The SMG defined immediate towing areas and sidewalk areas depending on the degree of risk that illegally parked electric scooters can pose to pedestrian environments. Immediate towing areas are where there are high risk of accident and threats to vulnerable pedestrians. Illegally parked electrical scooters will be immediately towed by towing companies upon discovery. In the general sidewalk areas, a grace period of three hours will be given to the shared electric scooter businesses to voluntarily remove their assets. The scooters will be towed when businesses fail to remove the scooters before the end of the grace period. Seoul’s Public Transportation Users Decreased by 40% (Subway) and 24% (Bus) After Limited Night Service Since the SMG implemented a limited night-time operation schedule for public transportation services, it is reported that the number of public transportation users in Seoul has decreased by 40% for subway and 24% for bus services. The decision was part of the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in line with the strengthened social distancing regulations. Operation of public transportation services is being limited according to the recommendation of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters. It involves reducing the frequency of night time services by 20% to increase the public awareness with phased schedule adjustments to minimize congestion and public inconvenience. Report Illegally Parked Cars in “Safe Zones” on the Seoul Smart Report App! The SMG revealed that it has updated its Seoul Smart Report app with a newly added category of “Illegally parked cars in safe zones” in the Citizen Report menu. By selecting the new category, citizens can now make direct reports on illegally parked cars in safe zones, and order fines to be issued without confirmation of an enforcement officer on site. Since illegal parking in “safe zones” has a higher chance of resulting in physical injury, the new feature is expected to ensure safe road environments for citizens.
This month’s policy
Ordinance on Support and Operation of Pilot Zone for Autonomous Driving Motor Vehicles Seoul Enacts Ordinance to Promote Commercialization of Autonomous Vehicles The SMG has enacted an ordinance to promote commercialization of autonomous vehicles with the Ordinance on Support and Operation of Pilot Zone for Autonomous Driving Motor Vehicle, which will take effect on July 20. Through the ordinance, the SMG defined the process and criteria for the issuance of license for commercial transportation services. It also lays a foundation that enables the SMG to provide various administrative and financial support. The ordinance details general operation of the pilot zone in Sangam, which was designated in December last year, according to the Act on the Promotion of and Support for the Commercialization of Autonomous Driving Motor Vehicles. According to the related law, pilot zones for autonomous vehicles are exempt from a range of regulations. Businesses can operate commercial transportation services using autonomous vehicles by receiving a temporary permit from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and then applying for an operation license (limited transportation license). ✽Temporary operation permit: A program that allows traveling on the roads by going through a certain test like driving license tests for humans according to the Motor Vehicle Management Act. Once the ordinance takes effect, various commercial autonomous motor vehicle services that citizens can use for a fare like public transportation services will become available. The SMG will introduce autonomous bus services that circulate the Sangam area, and autonomous transportation services that passengers can book on the app, and so on in October by seeking interested private businesses from the end of this month. The SMG plans to provide administrative and financial support for building key infrastructures for commercial transportation services using autonomous motor vehicles such as exclusive parking areas, stop signs, and payment systems. It is also going to construct a mobility platform so that passengers call and use all autonomous motor vehicles operating around Sangam through a single mobile app. The SMG explained that the enactment of the ordinance is significant not only because it is the first local government in Korea to enact such an ordinance, but also because it will act as a stimulus that helps autonomous vehicles become an essential mode of transportation for all citizens. Since commercial transportation services using autonomous vehicles are expected to see losses during the early stage of operation, the SMG plans to introduce various supporting programs to help Korean autonomous driving technology and industry lead the global market. The main contents of the Ordinance on Support and Operation of Pilot Zone for Autonomous Motor Vehicles are the creation of the Autonomous Driving Committee, the process for issuance of commercial transportation license, and detailed safety standards and regulations, and the basis for administrative and financial support. Firstly, the SMG will create the new Pilot Zone for Autonomous Driving Motor Vehicles Steering Committee in August. The steering committee will be responsible for providing advises on the SMG’s autonomous vehicle policies, and inspecting safety of autonomous vehicles. The steering committee plans to set out visions and policies for commercialization of autonomous vehicles by predicting 10 years ahead through collective intelligence of experts from the autonomous driving and passenger transportation service industries. It is also going to build a sustainable autonomous mobility industry model based on the public-private partnership. Secondly, the ordinance details the license issuance process for commercial transportation services so that citizens can use autonomous motor vehicles safely. It also details safety standards which can be used to verify operational capabilities before issuing a license. Rather than issuing a license through a simple document review such as temporary operation permit, it mandates the related authorities to verify the service provider’s actual capabilities to conduct safe operation on the roads before issuing a license, and to test the quality of service to be offered to citizens. When the SMG receives an application for commercial transportation service using autonomous vehicles, it will designate a probation period of 30 days before issuing an operation license. Then a verification team comprised of experts will conduct an inspection similar to the road driving test for driving license. The test will examine the ability to change lanes to select a route, the ability to recognize traffic signals and make appropriate responses, safety operation capabilities, such as avoiding obstacles and parked vehicles, ride comfort, service capabilities, such as the ability to pick up and drop off passengers at desired locations, and more. Thirdly, the ordinance also includes various administrative and financial support to be given to autonomous transportation service providers by the SMG. In order to solve the problem of parking garage, the SMG will create exclusive parking zones for autonomous vehicles inside city-owned public parking lots. The service providers can also access subsidies from the SMG for costs associated with supplementary facilities, video recording devices, construction of payment systems, and more. Along with the enactment of the ordinance, the SMG will start to receive applications from potential autonomous transportation service providers from the end of this month. The services will be launched in October after undergoing the service provider selection process and a service preparation period. The selected service providers will provide a range of services around Sangam-dong, which is designated as a pilot zone for autonomous vehicles. Autonomous bus service circulating the Sangam area as well as autonomous transportation services booked on smart phones and special services wheelchair-accessible vehicles are going to be introduced. The SMG plans to expand the service to autonomous cargo delivery, which deliver heavy objects such as cargo and groceries to homes, beyond passenger transportation services. Meanwhile, the SMG will receive information on the real-time operational status of all autonomous vehicles operating in Sangam-dong (routes, current location, fares, etc.) by the end of this year if possible, and then launch an all-in-one mobile app that offers calling, booking, and payment services through private-public partnership. A competent private business selected through a public contest will be responsible for the development and operation of the app. The SMG will provide data related to autonomous driving to promote public benefits, and help the private company secure related technology and grow. In the upcoming era of autonomous vehicles, mobile platforms (applications) are expected to have a greater role from selecting different types of autonomous motor vehicle depending on the purpose (e.g. commuting, traveling, shopping) to entertainment inside the vehicle. The SMG plans to pioneer the autonomous motor vehicle market early by combining the technological prowess of the private sector and support from the public sector. The SMG revealed that it will use this event as an opportunity to accelerate innovation in the private sector, and build the right systems and infrastructures so that Seoul can become a world-class smart city. Ref.1 Overview of Pilot Zone for Autonomous Motor Vehicle Overview •District: Pilot zone in Sangam-dong, Seoul •Designated: December 8, 2020 •Location & Scale: Entire area of Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul (6.2 km2) Main Areas: Sangam DMC, Noeul·Haneul Park, Nanjicheon Stream, Hangang Park, etc. •Road Extension: 31.3 km with a total of 24 roads •Background and Features – Grid-shaped roads with a low traffic volume / Roads inside the park are ideal for autonomous vehicles – High level of potential demand with daily footfall of 200,000 and 13,440,000 annual park visitors – The area needs a demand responsive transport service due to the uneven istribution of demand between communing hours and off-peak hours Ref.2 Reason for Enacting an Ordinance Related to Autonomous Driving in Seoul, and Details Ordinance: Ordinance on Support and Operation of Pilot Zone for Autonomous Motor Vehicles I Effective: Tuesday, Jul 20, 2021 I Reason The ordinance was enacted on the overall operation of the pilot zone according to the provisions concerning delegation of the mayor/governor stipulated in the Act on Promotion and Support for Commercialization of utonomous Motor Vehicles. Provision of administrative and financial support systems to accelerate the commercialization of autonomous vehicles and to revitalize the passenger transportation business under the jurisdiction of the mayor/governor. I Details Creation of a steering committee, which provides advisory and consultation services on policies related to the pilot zone – Creation of a steering committee to conduct consideration and advisory services for policies related to the pilot zone (Article 4 of proposal) – Matters related to the composition and operation of the steering committee (Articles 5 to 8 of proposal) – Matters related to the creation of subcommittees including the safety subcommittee (Article 9 of proposal) Matters related to the application for the limited transportation service license for passenger transportation service operated inside the pilot zone, the issuance of the license, change in business plans, and extending the license period – Matters related to the application and license issuance procedures for the limited transportation service license (Article 11 of proposal) – Matters related to change in business plans, and extending the license period (Articles 12 to 13 of proposal) The construction and operation standards for the autonomous transportation service platform, and the basis for utilization and combination of private platforms through privatepublic partnership (Article 15 of proposal) Matters related to the installation and management of facilities related to autonomous vehicles, and the basis for support for autonomous motor vehicle transportation service providers – Establishing the basis for the installation and management of autonomous vehicles (Article 16 of proposal) – Establishing the basis for accelerating the commercialization of autonomous vehicles (Article 19 of proposal) Designation of exclusive parking zones for autonomous vehicles inside the pilot zone, and the parking fees (Article 20 of proposal) Ref. 3 Photo of Autonomous Vehicles
Seoul Increases Payment Convenience and Reduces Budget by Notifying Traffic Violations via Mobile It is reported that the SMG is reaping the benefit of the mobile notification service for traffic violations and fines that it introduced on May 6, increasing payment convenience for citizens while reducing the related budget. The mobile notification service for traffic violations and fines is an alternative service to the conventional postage method of traffic violation and fine notices, and sends traffic violation and fine notices directly to the mobile phones registered to the offender’s name. Without having to apply for the service, anyone who has a mobile phone registered to the name can receive traffic violation and fine notices via the phone. When a traffic fine is confirmed, the SMG firstly sends an electronic notice to the offender via KakaoPay notification. If the recipient does not open the KakaoPay notification for 24 hours, another notice is then sent via KT public notification text message. If the recipient fails to open the KT public notification text message for 24 hours, a paper notice is delivered to the registered home address via mail. ✽The recipient has to complete a verification process after receiving a mobile notice for the notice to be processed as confirmed. The payer can check the traffic fine right away without having to wait until a paper notice is delivered to the home address, and pay the fine on the smart phone for increased convenience. Through the service, the payer will be able to enjoy a 20% remission for an early payment more easily, and prevent others from accessing sensitive personal information. In addition, the payer can check and pay the fine immediately without going through inconveniences that can be caused by lost or damaged notices and change of address. In addition to this, the SMG achieved a 33.4% reduction (KRW 1.41 billion) in the budget allocated to the production and postage of traffic fine notices since the implementation of the mobile notification service. In the conventional method of delivering traffic violation and fine notices via registered post, the SMG usually spent about KRW 4.02 billion. However, since the introduction of the mobile notice service, the cost of sending the same amount of traffic violation and fine notices via registered post for one year period (from May 2020 to April 2021) reduced by 33.4% to KRW 2.69 billion. This is a great reduction in the social cost. ✽Delivery of notices: It includes the production and postage of mobile and postal notices. In particular, the service also contributes to the realization of Seoul’s eco-friendly philosophy by reducing the amount of paper used to produce the bills and notices. Since the introduction of the mobile notice service, the number of paper notices and bills issued over a year decreased by 38.4%. As the mobile notice service is being used more widely, the amount of paper bills and notices is also reducing every month. From May 2020 to April 2021, the SMG issued a total of 1.61 million bills for a year. Of this number, about 990,000 bills (61.6%) were paper bills and 620,000 bills (38.4%) were mobile bills. Although the proportion of paper bills was as high as 66.5% in May, 2020, it has steadily decreased every year. The proportion of paper bills in April, 2021, was 59.0%, a 7.5% decrease from the previous year. For more environmentally-friendly public administration, the SMG started to use recycled paper to produce traffic violation and fine notices from March last year. The recycled paper is made of waste paper, and uses over 40% less wood in comparison to new paper. Meanwhile, the SMG extended the mobile notification service to issue reminder bills for violation of bus-only or bicycle-only lanes from May this year. It also extended the service to reminder
bills for illegally parked vehicles from June this year. Ref.1 The cost of paper bill production and postage, and the number of paper bills issued before and after the implementation of the mobile notification service
Tasks to Prepare for Future Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Park Jin-seo, Director of Aviation, Korea Transport Institute In 2020, Seoul’s public bicycle sharing service Ttareungi was rented 23,705,000 times. An average of 64,946 people used the service every day, and this is a 24% increase from 2019 when the average daily user number was 52,260. In three months from February to April this year when the first mass outbreak of COVID-19 occurred in South Korea, the number of Ttareungi members increased by a whopping 59.1% year on year. The cumulative number of members is 2,786,000. It is so popular that one in four Seoul residents is a Ttareungi rider. Shared electric scooter service was introduced in Seoul at the end of 2018 for the first time. As of April, 2021, the number of users increased six times to 210,000. The keywords of future mobility are autonomy, safety, and eco-friendliness. With the advent of mega cities, urban traffic congestion is intensifying every day. The solution to such traffic problems of future cities is urban air mobility (UAM). The operation of UAM expands the operation range from the conventional two-dimensional mobility to a three-dimensional space. In particular, UAM can perform vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), which is useful for urban areas where runways cannot be constructed. The UAM market is expanding around the United States, Europe, and China. The competition to dominate the market is becoming more intense. UAM ensures safety through electric power and distributed propulsion. It is also receiving attention as an environmentally-friendly means of transportation with reduced noise and carbon dioxide emissions. In response, the South Korean government established a national policy agency to secure the lead in the UAM market while developing policies related to technology investment. While I was working for the World Bank, I participated in the Uber UAM Expo held in Washington DC, and saw actual UAM aircrafts and various platform models. A representative from Uber said, “There were ten UAM models five years ago. Now there are hundreds of aircrafts being developed or planned.” Like so, various UAM aircrafts are preparing for the future market. However, there are many tasks to be done for a smooth introduction of the new mobility service. This article suggests four directions to prepare for the new and innovative air mobility of the future. Securing technical stability of aircrafts For UAM to settle, securing its safety is essential. To secure safety, UAM technologies such as aircraft airframe, control, and communication technology are becoming visualized. Since it uses electric motors, the noise issue is expected to be solved to some extent. However, its operation could be limited in densely populated urban areas. In addition, for the revitalization of UAM, securing safety is essential through methods such as the ability to respond to aircraft or motor failures, collision avoidance technology, and automatic navigation system. Research on UAM traffic management system For UAM to be introduced smoothly, the advanced traffic management system needs to be improved. There are currently five no-fly areas in South Korea. All of them are near the capital area. The no-fly areas include most of Seoul north of the Hangang River. It applies to all altitudes, therefore a structural improvement of the related airspace and research on the transportation management system are required. When flying at low altitude, various obstacles such as buildings and electric cables are scattered around. For urban flight, such elements need to be identified in advance, and the necessary operation plans need to be established. Development of business models such as platform operation Innovative industries of the future like UAM cannot be successful through the conventional transportation systems and business models. Demand management and business models based on innovative platforms are necessary. Such UAM transportation network can be expanded to the metropolitan areas and the regional areas beyond city centers. In addition, in the perspective of infrastructure, developing vertiports in the city center based on user demand, and the efficient operation need to be considered as well. In particular, in the perspective of access traffic, the construction of inter-modal systems with a means of land transportation, motor vehicles, acts as an important factor. In particular, UAM has a low load factor due to the size of aircraft. This can cause the cost to be relatively high. Securing economical aircraft prices, increasing the range, and realizing unmanned UAM services will act as factors that determine the successful settlement of the service. Securing public acceptability for UAM The last task is securing public acceptability for UAM. Securing safety and efficiency is important for utilization of UAM. However, general public perception and social agreement for the implementation would be necessary. This will have to be based on the public perception that it is a user-friendly means of transportation that citizens can use conveniently. Through this, an UAM ecosystem will be built, and new values will be created.