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Any plans for 20 April? Join the Green Movie Nights in Seoul for the screening of the documentary Bikes vs. Cars. I will participate and discuss what lessons the documentary has for Korean cities.

The screening is on Saturday, 20 April, from 2 to 4:30 pm at the Seoul Global Cultural Center (Myeongdong, Seoul).

The documentary shows urban mobility issues through the examples of Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and Copenhagen. The discussion afterwards will talk about how these issues look like in Seoul and how urban mobility can be improved in Korean cities.

The event is for free and everybody is welcome! You can find more information on the Facebook event page and make sure to register here: https://bit.ly/2FFHPuu

Here are the event information by the event organizers in Korean and English:

자동차에 점령당한 대도시에서 자전거를 타고 다닌다는 것은 어떤것을 의미할까요?
넘치는 자동차와 매연, 교통 체증으로 가득한 서울도 코펜하겐 같은 자전거를 타는 사람들의 천국이 될 수 있을까요?

스웨덴 출신 Fredrik Gertten 감독의 다큐멘터리 영화 <Bike vs. Cars>는 브라질 상파울로와 미국 LA, 덴마크 코펜하겐 등지에서 도시를 점령한 자동차에 맞서 자전거로 변화를 일으키고 있는 사람들의 노력을 조명하면서, 자전거가 주류가 될 수 없는 정치 경제적 권력 구조를 조명합니다.

이번 상영회를 통해 매연과 교통 체증이라는 ‘어쩔수 없는것’으로 받아들였던 도시의 교통 문제를 함께 생각해보고, 어떠한 변화를 함께 일으킬 수 있는지 고민하는 시간을 가져보려 합니다.
영화 상영 후에는 녹색 교통 전문가 Nikola Medimorec과 함께하는 Q&A 시간도 마련되어 있습니다.

일시: 2019. 4. 20(토) 14:00~16:30
장소: 서울글로벌문화센터(명동)

* 영화는 영어 자막과 함께 영어로 상영됩니다 (한국어 자막은 제공되지 않습니다).
* 무료 행사입니다 (도시의 불평등 관련 다음 영화를 준비하는 영화팀을 위한 후원금 모금이 진행됩니다).
* 전문가와의 Q&A에는 한영통역이 지원됩니다.
* 참여 신청: https://bit.ly/2FFHPuu (자리가 한정되어 있어 사전 신청을 권장합니다)
* 문의: greenmovienights.seoul@gmail.com

* 공식 트레일러: https://vimeo.com/139735098
* 이 행사는 서울 글로벌 문화 센터의 후원으로 진행됩니다.

What does it mean to cycle in a city like Seoul flooded by cars?
Can Seoul become a bike-friendly city like Copenhagen?

<Bike vs. Cars>, an award-winning documentary by Fredrik Gertten depicts struggles by cyclists in Sao Paulo, LA and Copenhagen to induce fundamental changes in these mega cities dominated by cars and political economy systems that support it.

This screening event is organised as part of the Green Movie Nights series which started in October 2018, to create a community of people who are aware of environmental issues and willing to act together for changes in our city life.
After the screening, a Q&A session will be organised with Nikola Medimorec, a green transport expert based in Seoul, to discuss transportation issues in Seoul and what we can do about it.

Time/Date: 14:00~16:30 Saturday, 20th April 2019
Venue: Seoul Global Cultural Center(Myeongdong)

* The movie will be screened in English with English subtitles (no Korean subtitle).
* This is a free event (voluntary donation of KRW 5,000 is recommended as part of fundraising for the movie team).
* Korean-English interpretation is available for Q&As.
* Registration: https://bit.ly/2FFHPuu (limited seats, pre-registration recommended)
* Inquiries: greenmovienights.seoul@gmail.com

* Official trailer: https://vimeo.com/139735098
* This event is sponsored by Seoul Global Cultural Center.

The post Join us for free screening of an urban transport documentary appeared first on Kojects.

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During Seollal I saw many excited, young people on electric kick scooters. My first thought was that they rented them from a shop or just bought them but as I saw more and more people, I realized that the latest North American mobility trend has arrived in Korea: shared electric kick scooters.

The start-up Kickgoing has launched these electric kick scooters late September 2018 (yes, I haven’t seen the sun for a while). The kick scooters are powered by an electric battery which can last nearly 2 hours on a full charge. They are currently available in Hongdae, Gangnam and Jamsil. It started in Gangnam, then expanded to Hongdae and Jamsil in January 2019.

In order to use them, users have to download the smartphone app and create an account providing phone number and credit card information. The app says that a driving license is required and a helmet should be used when riding the scooters. Once the account is setup, a user can easily unlock a scooter through the QR code on the handle.

A basic ride covering 5 minutes costs 1,000 KRW. Any additional minute costs 100 KRW. Kickgoing offers discounts for the first ride and for recommending the service to friends. The scooters are recommended to be parked in designated areas which are shown in the app.

What’s all the hype about shared electric scooters?

Electric scooters suddenly appeared on North American roads in 2018. They quickly gained a huge popularity and the major companies Bird, Lime and Spin expanded within a few weeks to every major American city. The adoption rate of shared electric kick scooters was higher than bikesharing, carsharing or ridehailing. Within an extremely short period of time many people learned to love and to use the electric scooters very frequently.

An interesting characteristic is that especially among women these scooters have a higher popularity than bikesharing. It is cited that the scooters provide a higher sense of personal safety than bicycles as well as higher comfort. Electric scooters are a great first/last-mile solution, which means that it helps people to get from their home to public transport.

I recommend everyone to read this great article on e-scooters by Vox.

Issues of electric scooters in Korea

Back to the situation in Korea: After finding out about them I directly took a first ride. It was exciting and a lot of fun. The learning curve was amazing and after a couple of minutes I felt confident enough to drive around in full speed.

But here’s the first issue: Kickgoing recommends to use alleys and side roads, and to stay away from main roads. However, the reality will be that people will ride on the sidewalks causing conflicts with pedestrians. But I can’t blame them because nobody wants to share a road with SUVs driving at 60 or more km/h. In North America some cities have at least basic bicycle infrastructure that can be used.

The second issue: The electric scooters in Korea can be used from 7 am to 8 pm. I’m not aware of any time restrictions for Birds or Limes in the US. This time restriction makes it even difficult for commuters. Using it as a last-mile solution (for the last few minutes from the subway to home) will be more challenging with Korea’s long working hours and long commutes.

More diversity on Korean streets

A very exciting future awaits us! The introduction of shared electric scooters in Korea increases the diversity of mobility modes. Now the challenge is to transform our streets in a way that facilitates the diversity.

More dedicated bicycle infrastructure would be a great first start. Since March 2018 electric scooters and other personal electric vehicles are allowed to use bike paths (such as the Han river paths). Further, bike lanes can cater to cargo bicycles and any other future micromobility transport modes.

The post Newest mobility trend arrives in Korea appeared first on Kojects.

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Seoul announced the transformation of the Gwanghwamun Plaza to a bigger, people-oriented public space by 2021. Mayor Park Won-soon had shared his idea to reshape the plaza since his campaign in 2011 but he prioritized other projects (Seoullo 7017 and Sewoon Sangga among others) until now. A final design and timeline for the transformation of the public space in front of the Gyeongbokgung Palace have been decided recently.

Development of the Gwanghwamun Plaza

The avenue towards the palace exists since Seoul became the capital of Korea. It was a large avenue for the king and his entourage traveling from the palace to other places. In the 20th century it remained a wide avenue but nearly all of the space was given to cars and motorized traffic.

Here you can see the recent development from 1974 to now and future plans:

In the modern Seoul the area in front of the palace had a 14-lane road. The Gwanghwamun Plaza turned in 2008-2009 to the current form with green space, a statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and Sejong the Great.

However, the Gwanghwamun Plaza in its current form doesn’t provide a great quality. The NGO Project for Public Spaces sees four characteristics necessary for a successful public space: access and linkage, sociability, uses and activities and comfort and image. The Gwanghwamun Plaza currently can’t fulfill many of the aspects as long it doesn’t close down temporarily a side (or even both sides) of the road. Currently, the plaza is very noisy due to the car traffic and doesn’t provide enough capacity for events of a city with 10 million inhabitants.

Starting point: car-free Sunday

In 2013, the first car-free Sundays have been held on the Sejongro, the road next to the Gwanghamun Plaza. The road left of the plaza was closed twice a month, every first and third Sunday between March and October. We at Kojects have reported about the events in detail. The Seoul Walk and Bike Festival was a great experience. From the beginning it was clear that these car-free Sundays are a way to examine how traffic will will be affected if the road is closed.

Picture of Car-Free Sunday at Sejongro in 2013

In 2018, Seoul shortly thought about building a tunnel and to move the traffic underground. Such a tunnel project would come with various issues and high costs. It would also be counterproductive in the long-term because Seoul has to find ways to reduce traffic in the inner-city.

Seoul declared the area within the four gates as a green transport promotion zone and there are plans for road diets and more people-oriented policies. Such measures are highly complementary and important elements of sustainable transport. The chart by the international organization Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) shows that car-free days and car-free streets are steps towards permanent large-scale car-free measures.

The Car-Free Spectrum (Source: TUMI)

So the Gwanghwamun Plaza will become a place prioritizing people and public transport. It will accelerate development towards a less car-dependent city.

Future face of Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Plaza

The final design of Gwanghwamun was recently published and it’s called ‘Deep Surface (Awaken the past and future)’. It was selected through a design competition where 70 teams from all around the world had submitted concepts. The construction is expected to begin in 2020 and to be completed by 2021.

It’s difficult to see in the first picture but not only the road leading south will be made smaller, the road in front of the palace will be moved south, giving the palace more space. The statues will be moved from the center of the road to the buildings on the left.

The gate Gwanghwamun to the palace will have a huge square for visitors. Historic structures will be rebuilt, providing tourists with more places for sightseeing and to learn about Korea’s history.

More green space is envisioned and trees will decorate parts of the plaza. The area above ground and underground will be connected at various spots.

Shadow between trees will give a place to rest and to socialize.

The new Gwanghwamun Plaza would be 3.7 times bigger than the current plaza. It isn’t yet clear what will be underground.

The design combines the elements of ’emptiness’ and ‘fullness’. Above ground the space is relatively empty and left free of any large constructions. Beyond the ground the plaza will have various facilities. For example, the underground will become a large transportation hub.

GTX as a part of the project

The announcement about the Gwanghwamun Plaza project included news about the largest urban transport project of Korea: the GTX (Great Train eXpress). It is envisioned that the GTX Line A (Paju, Seoul to Dongtan) will have a station at Gwanghwamun besides Samsung Station, Seoul Station and Yeonsinnae in Seoul. Such a station wasn’t included in any of the plans for GTX Line A before and it comes a big surprise.

In addition, there’s the idea of extending the Shinbundang Line to Samsong in northwestern Seoul. Then the Shinbundang Line would pass through Seoul Station and Gwanghwamun Station. But there is no timeline for the GTX and Shinbundang Line extension so far.

It would mean that Gwanghwamun Station becomes a major transport hub, connecting Seoul Metro Line 5, Shinbundang Line and GTX Line A, plus having underground tunnels to Seoul City Hall Station providing access to Line 1 and Line 2 as well as north to Gyeongbokgung Station with Line 3.

Sources: Seoul City | Joongang Ilbo | Seoulvillage

The post Gwanghwamun Plaza’s facelift by 2021 appeared first on Kojects.

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Another year has passed and time seems to go by faster each year. Once again, it has been a busy year for both Nikola and I. We would have loved to update the site more often, and we’re sorry to those who have missed the updates.

One of my resolutions this year is to bring Kojects back to life and give our readers more frequent posts about ongoing transport-related projects in Korea, as well as any urban news that relates to pedestrianization or making cities more walkable.

Last year we posted about:

Other developments in 2018 included:

  • A section of the Donghae Line from Pohang to Yeongdeok was opened in January
  • Opening of the Line 9 extension from Sports Complex to VHS Medical Center on December 1
  • The GTX A line began construction on December 27
  • The GTX C line got the green light following a preliminary feasibility study
  • The Bundang Line was extended by one station to Cheongnyangni on December 31 (limited number of services per day)

Looking ahead

There are still many ongoing and upcoming projects around the country, including new light-rapid transit systems, tram lines, and the capital area’s future underground express network, the GTX.

We look forward to covering these as well as any other relevant stories as time allows us. As always, please feel free to send us any questions, comments or requests for coverage of projects.

The post The year ahead and a look back at 2018 appeared first on Kojects.

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In June, we posted about the suspension of KTX services to and from Incheon International Airport. Many of you will have already heard that as of September 1st the service has been scraped completely.

But what does this mean exactly? After seeing a bit of misinformation and confusion about the news online, we’ve decided to try and makes things a bit clearer.
 

Which services have stopped?

In 2014, Korail began operating intercity KTX trains to and from Incheon Airport and Geomam Station — both stations on the on the AREX airport line. The trains would stop at Seoul Station and then eventually share the same line as the AREX on its trip to Incheon.

It is these services from other cities directly to the airport that will no longer operate. Trains will terminate at either Seoul or Haengsin (another station north of Seoul).
 

So the AREX is still operating?

Most definitely. Both the regular and express AREX services are running normally. With an average of 182,343 passengers (2017) using the line daily and 32,499 of those getting on or off at Incheon Airport, the line has become a major transit connection for Seoul and Incheon commuters.

In fact, now that the AREX no longer has to share tracks with the KTX, there is the potential to make services even more frequent.

Why were the KTX services canceled?

As mentioned in our previous post, the main reason was that there just weren’t enough people using them.

Korail initially halted the services in February after the 2018 Winter Olympics for maintenance reasons. In June, Korail asked the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport if they could scrap it completely, citing low ridership.

According to Korail, an average of 3433 passengers used KTXs to and from the airport (and Geomam) every day — accounting for just 21% of all passengers. MOLIT announced on July 30 that the request had been approved, and the line would no longer operate from September 1.

While a KTX straight to the airport from another city like Gwangju or Busan certainly sounds convenient, there are a few reasons why the services didn’t take off.

Very few services

Due to sharing tracks with the AREX and limited capacity, there were only a small number of KTX trains that traveled to and from the airport every day.

By the time the line closed there were less services than when it had originally opened. Busan “boasted” 5 trains a day, while the Honam Line had just two. A single train also operated from Daejeon, Pohang, Jinju and Yeosu Expo. This meant that if your flight time didn’t match up with the KTX time, you were out of luck.


 

It wasn’t any faster

When most people think of the KTX, they think of a high-speed train flying by at 300 km/h. However, because the connection from Seoul Station to Incheon Aiport uses conventional rail, trains could only travel at up to 170km/h.

Even though this is still a lot faster than the AREX trains which travel at up to 75 km/h, the KTX services from Seoul to Incheon still arrived slightly later. This is because trains had to stop Geomam, and take longer when stopped at stations than metro trains.

Here’s a quick comparison of travel times, cost, and service frequency.

Seoul Station – ICN Terminal 2 by KTX

  • 56 mins (approx)
  • 13,100 won
  • 11 services per day

Seoul Station – ICN Terminal 2 by AREX (Airport Railroad)

  • 51 mins (express train)
  • 9000 won (7500 won with group discount)
  • 26 services per day (every 40 minutes)

Note that the all-stop AREX service takes around 66 minutes, and is cheaper and more frequent than the express service.

Gwangmyeong Station – ICN Terminal 2 by Shuttle Bus

  • 1 hr 10 mins
  • 12,000 won
  • 40 services per day (every 20-30 mins)

While the bus time may seem longer, passengers don’t have to travel into Seoul and are likely to have reduced check in times. More info on this below.

Why are people getting the bus from Gwangmyeong Station instead?

Gwangmyeong Station City-Airport Terminal opened in January this year and lets you check in for your flight at the station. Passengers can enjoy less stress as they don’t have to fight the crowds at the main Incheon terminal and can instead go straight to security and wait for their flight.

Many KTX trains stop at Gwangmyeong Station which makes it easier to arrange your train travel from another city to match your flight time. The station is becoming an important hub for those living in the south west of Seoul and Gyeonggi Province.

Not everything is going swimmingly though. As of September 8, two shuttle buses from Incheon’s Bupyeong and Woninjae stations to Gwangmyeong were scrapped due to abysmal ridership.

Gwangmyeong isn’t the only city-air terminal, with one at COEX having been in operation since the 90s, and another one at Seoul Station linked to the AREX that opened in 2010.

Airport “Limousine” Buses

Many people still prefer to use Airport Limousine Buses when traveling abroad simply because they are cheaper, often stop close to many residential areas (especially in Seoul), and go straight to the airport. This includes cities outside of Seoul, though buses that travel farther may only make one or two stops. It would be great to see electric airport buses in the future.

Safety and disruptions also a concern

Low demand wasn’t the only reason behind Korail getting rid of the services. One other major reason was concern over safety and potential disruption with two very different services operating alongside one another.

This concern isn’t unfounded, as airport KTX trains broke down on several occasions, causing major delays to AREX services while tracks were blocked. As long as the two services continued to share the same line through to Incheon, there was always the risk of unnecessary disruptions.

Do you think we’ll see Incheon Airport KTXs again in the future?

There haven’t been any reports of future plans, and I personally don’t think we’ll see KTXs from Incheon Airport in the near future. If there is a major international event that requires moving people from the airport to other cities by KTX, we could possibly see some special one-off services.

Other than that, a future airport KTX service would need dedicated tracks for better speed and to remove capacity issues, especially since AREX ridership will likely continue to grow. More frequent services would also be an important factor in gaining favor with passengers.

Incheon is now the only major regional city which doesn’t have easy access to KTX trains, excluding Jeju which is an island, and Sejong, which has Cheongju-Osong Station 15-20 minutes away.

A few years back we wrote about KTXs coming to Incheon in the future, though these won’t leave from the airport, but from Songdo. This is also a long way off, with the mayor of the city recently saying that it’s likely the project won’t be completed until 2024.

Sources: Korail / MOLIT / Donga / Yonhap

The post Incheon Airport’s KTX service ends but AREX still operating appeared first on Kojects.

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In June, we posted about the suspension of KTX services to and from Incheon International Airport. Many of you will have already heard that as of September 1st the service has been scraped completely.

But what does this mean exactly? After seeing a bit of misinformation and confusion about the news online, we’ve decided to try and makes things a bit clearer.
 

Which services have stopped?

In 2014, Korail began operating intercity KTX trains to and from Incheon Airport and Geomam Station — both stations on the on the AREX airport line. The trains would stop at Seoul Station and then eventually share the same line as the AREX on its trip to Incheon.

It is these services from other cities directly to the airport that will no longer operate. Trains will terminate at either Seoul or Haengsin (another station north of Seoul).
 

So the AREX is still operating?

Most definitely. Both the regular and express AREX services are running normally. With an average of 182,343 passengers (2017) using the line daily and 32,499 of those getting on or off at Incheon Airport, the line has become a major transit connection for Seoul and Incheon commuters.

In fact, now that the AREX no longer has to share tracks with the KTX, there is the potential to make services even more frequent.

Why were the KTX services canceled?

As mentioned in our previous post, the main reason was that there just weren’t enough people using them.

Korail initially halted the services in February after the 2018 Winter Olympics for maintenance reasons. In June, Korail asked the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport if they could scrap it completely, citing low ridership.

According to Korail, an average of 3433 passengers used KTXs to and from the airport (and Geomam) every day — accounting for just 21% of all passengers. MOLIT announced on July 30 that the request had been approved, and the line would no longer operate from September 1.

While a KTX straight to the airport from another city like Gwangju or Busan certainly sounds convenient, there are a few reasons why the services didn’t take off.

Very few services

Due to sharing tracks with the AREX and limited capacity, there were only a small number of KTX trains that traveled to and from the airport every day.

By the time the line closed there were less services than when it had originally opened. Busan “boasted” 5 trains a day, while the Honam Line had just two. A single train also operated from Daejeon, Pohang, Jinju and Yeosu Expo. This meant that if your flight time didn’t match up with the KTX time, you were out of luck.


 

It wasn’t any faster

When most people think of the KTX, they think of a high-speed train flying by at 300 km/h. However, because the connection from Seoul Station to Incheon Aiport uses conventional rail, trains could only travel at up to 170km/h.

Even though this is still a lot faster than the AREX trains which travel at up to 75 km/h, the KTX services from Seoul to Incheon still arrived slightly later. This is because trains had to stop Geomam, and take longer when stopped at stations than metro trains.

Here’s a quick comparison of travel times, cost, and service frequency.

Seoul Station – ICN Terminal 2 by KTX

  • 56 mins (approx)
  • 13,100 won
  • 11 services per day

Seoul Station – ICN Terminal 2 by AREX (Airport Railroad)

  • 51 mins (express train)
  • 7500 won
  • 26 services per day (every 40 minutes)

Note that the all-stop AREX service takes around 66 minutes, and is cheaper and more frequent than the express service.

Gwangmyeong Station – ICN Terminal 2 by Shuttle Bus

  • 1 hr 10 mins
  • 12,000 won
  • 40 services per day (every 20-30 mins)

While the bus time may seem longer, passengers don’t have to travel into Seoul and are likely to have reduced check in times. More info on this below.

Why are people getting the bus from Gwangmyeong Station instead?

Gwangmyeong Station City-Airport Terminal opened in January this year and lets you check in for your flight at the station. Passengers can enjoy less stress as they don’t have to fight the crowds at the main Incheon terminal and can instead go straight to security and wait for their flight.

Many KTX trains stop at Gwangmyeong Station which makes it easier to arrange your train travel from another city to match your flight time. The station is becoming an important hub for those living in the south west of Seoul and Gyeonggi Province.

Not everything is going swimmingly though. As of September 8, two shuttle buses from Incheon’s Bupyeong and Woninjae stations to Gwangmyeong were scrapped due to abysmal ridership.

Gwangmyeong isn’t the only city-air terminal, with one at COEX having been in operation since the 90s, and another one at Seoul Station linked to the AREX that opened in 2010.

Airport “Limousine” Buses

Many people still prefer to use Airport Limousine Buses when traveling abroad simply because they are cheaper, often stop close to many residential areas (especially in Seoul), and go straight to the airport. This includes cities outside of Seoul, though buses that travel farther may only make one or two stops. It would be great to see electric airport buses in the future.

Safety and disruptions also a concern

Low demand wasn’t the only reason behind Korail getting rid of the services. One other major reason was concern over safety and potential disruption with two very different services operating alongside one another.

This concern isn’t unfounded, as airport KTX trains broke down on several occasions, causing major delays to AREX services while tracks were blocked. As long as the two services continued to share the same line through to Incheon, there was always the risk of unnecessary disruptions.

Do you think we’ll see Incheon Airport KTXs again in the future?

There haven’t been any reports of future plans, and I personally don’t think we’ll see KTXs from Incheon Airport in the near future. If there is a major international event that requires moving people from the airport to other cities by KTX, we could possibly see some special one-off services.

Other than that, a future airport KTX service would need dedicated tracks for better speed and to remove capacity issues, especially since AREX ridership will likely continue to grow. More frequent services would also be an important factor in gaining favor with passengers.

Incheon is now the only major regional city which doesn’t have easy access to KTX trains, excluding Jeju which is an island, and Sejong, which has Cheongju-Osong Station 15-20 minutes away.

A few years back we wrote about KTXs coming to Incheon in the future, though these won’t leave from the airport, but from Songdo. This is also a long way off, with the mayor of the city recently saying that it’s likely the project won’t be completed until 2024.

Sources: Korail / MOLIT / Donga / Yonhap

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Subways are usually visualized as schematic maps where the lines and locations don’t show the real geographic location. Further, metro systems are huge infrastructure elements but, as most of them are buried underground, we aren’t really aware about how large and extensive the subway networks are in reality. I had the idea to draw the subway lines on aerial images to show their geographic characteristics and I implemented it for Seoul, Busan and Daegu.

Origin of the Idea and Feedback

A couple of weeks ago I saw images showing the subway lines of London, New York City and Paris on this Twitter account. A few other people created similar images of other cities and I enjoyed them a lot. I had the idea to create something similar about Seoul and to share it with as many people as possible to show how great Korea subway system is and how Korea’s subway lines look like in reality.

The biggest difficulty was to find suitable picture while drawing the lines on the map was relatively easy. It was impossible to find a good aerial picture that shows the complete capital region. I assume that the area is too big to include in a single picture. And I wanted to draw the two subway lines of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang but no success as well.

After I published the images on our Twitter and Facebook, I received a lot of good feedback and many people enjoyed this new view of our familiar subway systems. The Korea Times contacted me after I published the Seoul subway image and they printed it together with a brief interview. Last week I also joined Koreascape on tbs to talk about the images and other current developments in Seoul.

Seoul Subway

Here’s the first picture I created with the overlay for Seoul:

You can see Seoul Subway Line 1 to 7, 9, the airport express line A’REX, Gyeongyui/Jungang Line and the new Ui Line. The image features southwestern part, downtown and the northwestern part of the capital region. Drawing the subway lines made me aware of some unique features of Seoul Subway: The loop at the end of Line 6, the detour of Line 4 to Sinyongsan Station and Line 5’s several turns on its way through the city.

A picture I haven’t yet released shows Seoul with a focus on Gangnam:

It nicely shows the major subway lines of southern Seoul: Bundang Line and the Sinbundang Line. Yet, it also doesn’t show Line 8 and the eastern part of Seoul.

Busan Subway

After the first Seoul subway image, I worked on applying the same concept to Busan and Daegu. Busan has a very specific topography and the subway system goes around various mountains:

In the picture the Busan-Gimhae LRT is missing. Busan’s Line 1 comes from southwestern area and extends northeastern outskirts of Busan. Busan Subway searches its way through the hilly topography of Busan, avoids all the mountains and the coast which leads to a very interesting picture.

Daegu Subway

Daegu has three subway lines and a unique feature is that the third line is an above-ground monorail:

Here all three subway lines of Daegu are shown in the picture. Daegu is huge in terms of urban land area but the subway system is relatively small. Line 3 is a above-ground monorail which is unique for Korea’s subway lines. It opened in April 2015.

So, these were the bird’s eye-view pictures of Korea’s subway lines! I hope that you enjoyed them and that we can soon show you more interesting content illustrating how great public transport in Korea is.

The post Korea’s Subway Lines from Above appeared first on Kojects.

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The Korean government plans to make it compulsory for all people riding a bicycle to wear helmets from September 2018. A helmet law has the intention to make cycling safer but the reality proves that it’s very counterproductive and a move into the wrong direction.

Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Law

The law is already passed and it will go into effect on 22 September 2018. There isn’t yet any information on how high the fine will be. Looking at motorcycles, the fine for not wearing a helmet is 20,000 KRW (around 18 USD). So it will be probably around that level as well.

Countries with Bicycle Helmet laws

Usually you would expect that you look at Let’s take a look at which countries have regulations on bicycle helmets for all cyclists:

Bicycle helmet laws around the world (Source: Wikicommons by Elekhh)

Countries with fines are Australia, Israel, Namibia, New Zealand and parts of Canada/USA. You can see that countries, such as Netherlands and Denmark, which are often praised as the best bicycle countries, don’t have any legal restrictions.

Official bicycle events in Korea always require helmet usage

Why mandatory helmet laws can be very counterproductive

Making a helmet a necessary item will, first of all, hinder people who don’t have an helmet to cycle. Second, it will make cycling less attractive for casual cyclists. People who use a bicycle to get to the subway on the way to work or school don’t want to carry a helmet around. Another issue are bikesharing systems: Spontaneous use of such services will decrease or each bicycle will have to provide a helmet. Seoul’s bikesharing service Ttareungyi is currently investigating their options to react to the bicycle helmet laws. Actually, on their website you can see that a use of helmets is recommended (picture on the right).

Instead of discussing arguments for and against mandatory bicycle helmet laws, I recommend you to take a look at the following video:

Should you wear a bike helmet? - YouTube

It summarizes very well the issue with compulsory bicycle helmet laws. Especially in a country like Korea, where cycling trips still account for a very small number of journeys.

What can be done against it?

You can sign this petition on the Goverment’s official petition portal to show that you are unsatisfied with this development. The petition ends on 23 July. The portal allows a quick and easy registration through Twitter, Facebook or Naver (no need for an ARC or anything else). Signing the petition will help to raise attention and can lead to a reassessment of the law. For further updates on this activity, you can join the Korean Facebook page “맨머리유니언 – No Compulsory Helmets”.

What has to be done instead in Korea

Korea records an increase in cycling. Articles describe the “cycling population” has passed 13 million. 6.01% of road traffic fatalities in 2016 (in 2012: 5.35%; in 2014: 5.94%) are people on bicycles. Articles about the mandatory bicycle law mention that 38.4% of bicycle accidents involve head injuries.

However, the articles don’t mention that 98.5% of all bicycle accidents and 98.8% of cycling fatalities in Korea happen on normal roads without any bicycle infrastructure. So clearly, we don’t need another victim-blaming policy that makes an efficient, sustainable way of moving around worse, we need adequate bicycle infrastructure for everyday bicycle use. In other words: Dedicated, physically separated and protected bicycle lanes and other infrastructure elements which make it safe and convenient for people of all ages, gender and physical ability to ride a bicycle anywhere they want.

The post Korea to Introduce Bicycle Helmet Law appeared first on Kojects.

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I always feel lucky that living in Korea I usually get to see at least one brand new commuter line open every year. 2018 is no different, with the Seohae Line having recently opened on June 16.

The 23.3km commuter line is located east of the capital and connected to the Seoul Metropolitan network. Originally named the Sosa – Wonsi Line, the line begins in Sosa in Bucheon and travels down through Siheung to Wonsi in Ansan.

It’s the first rail connection for the city of Siheung and adds a metro line to one more area of Gyeonggi Province which previously didn’t have any rail. The Seohae Line (literally west sea line) has 12 stations and shortens what was previously a 1.5 hour trip by car to 33 minutes by train. Services will operate every 13 minutes during peak times and every 20 minutes during off-peak. Check out a video below from the MTA T Train YouTube channel.

Seohae Line (서해선), Sights and Sounds - June 16, 2018 - YouTube

Video: ihasbeencepred [MTA T Train]

The 12 stations are Sosa (Seoul Line 1), Sosaeul, Siheung Daeya, Sincheon, Sinhyeon, Siheung City Hall, Siheung Neunggok, Dalmi, Seonbu, Choji (Line 4), Wongok and Wonsi. The line connects with Seoul’s Line 1 at Sosa and Line 4 at Choji station. Siheung City Hall station will also become a transfer station and become further linked to Seoul when the future Sinansan and Wolgot-Pangyo lines open.

In addition to this, the Seohae Line will eventually connect to the planned Daegok – Sosa and Hongseong – Wonsi lines. This will open up a direct link between the Gyeongui Line and Janghang Line railways, meaning that commuter, high-speed, and freight trains will all be able to use the new corridor.

Featured Image: Mtattrain

The post Seohae Line opens to provide better transport in west Gyeonggi appeared first on Kojects.

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