Seoul: Yeouido// Digitalizing the commute experience to camouflage Yeouido’s grid with Seoul’s complexity

“Safe, convenient, people-centered transportation in Seoul”1

Another reputable and notable praise that attracts visitors to Seoul is the reliable public transport system that branches through every major and minor sector of the metropolis. Having a digital transportation network would promise safety and reliability for travelers.

The subway stations in Seoul offers wireless connection to the internet, it facilitates receiving passenger reports, ranging from serviceability inconvenience to (non-)medical emergencies from the mobile phone. Platforms have recording equipment and the train compartments, have crowd indicators displayed on an LED panel.

Busses are very punctual and colour-coded for easy service distinction, the bus stations are heated and have electronic real-time information including the bus type and seat availability – also available on the mobile phone. They run on designated bus lanes to reduce congestion with cars.

The taxis are reliable, their locations are monitored and available for customers. A taxi can be called no matter operated by any company, simply pushing a button at a smart taxi stand located in heavy tourist and business areas. These stands also provide wireless internet, mobile charging docks, fare information and traffic status.

Mass transfer stations, including the Yeouido Bus Transfer Center, have been installed large LED facades to enhance nighttime visibility and real-time information. The artificial lighting illuminates the area and reduces the possibility of crime.

Public parking lots are also digitalized.

All the above described are managed by Seoul’s Transport Operation and Information Service, otherwise known as TOPIS. The transparency between the passenger and the vehicle operator enhances convenience and efficacy. It brings confidence in public transportation, at any time of the day. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) works closely with all the transportation companies to render Seoul a seamless and easily understood system. It unifies all districts in the metropolis. It makes the road invisible. The public commuter would only experience the place of origin, the seamless commute, and transfers, then the destination. Traffic does not exist. The car is not modern.

When such technology is integrated with public transportation, the driver becomes a pedestrian, and the streets and roads will never be perceived differently. Vehicular traffic does not matter anymore to the pedestrian.

Yeouido island would be camouflaged by the same digital transportation network as the rest of Seoul.

Seoul Metropolitan Transportation Network, 2013

In 2013, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced a Seoul Traffic Plan 2030, which strives to be the world’s first private car-less city by promoting walkability and an equitable fare basis for the costs for the total distance traveled unimportant to the transportation method used. Seoul started to digitalize the transportation network and made the commuting experience as seamless and satisfactory as possible:

Seoul Traffic Plan 2030 Core Values

The segregation of privately-owned vehicular cars for promoting pedestrian, public transportation and commute sharing was already accomplishing what Kim Soo-Geun, the architect of the unrealized Yeouido Plan in 1967, envisioned to have in order to be a modern city; only his hierarchy of traffic was based on levels of speed and elevated the pedestrian. The 2030 Traffic Plan, however, aims to embrace and fully introduce commute sharing.

The 2030 Traffic Plan sees a very pedestrian-oriented and cyclist centered network, widening sidewalks and obstacle-free roads for accessibility. Future large buildings will not have any parking lots, bus shelters and vehicles will have sustainable technology instead and existing large highways such as Jemulpo-gil will be converted into underground tunnels for green public space. The railway system will expand to maintain a less than a 10-minute walk to stations. Car sharing services and centers will populate and roads will be widened for road sharing. Seoul’s Transport Operation and Information Service, TOPIS, will integrate deeply with the new advances of each transportation method. This vision aims to be the most advanced city transportation system that will resolve all complications present in Seoul’s complex road network and would be a leading city in commuting.


  1. Kim, Soochul. “Moving Around Seoul.” Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies 10, no. 3 (2010): 199-207.
  2. Jun, Myung-Jin. “An Evaluation of the Value of Time for Commuting in Seoul: A Life Satisfaction Approach.” International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. 13, no. 10 (2019): 703-709.
  3. Lee, Seungjae, and Atizaz Ali. “Seoul.” In The Multi-Agent Transport Simulation MATSim, edited by Horni Andreas, Nagel Kai, and Axhausen Kay W., 497-500. London: Ubiquity Press, 2016.
  4. Seoul Metropolitan Government. “Safe, convenient, people-centered transportation in Seoul.” n.d.
  5. The Seoul Institute. “Metropolitan Area”. 2013.

2 Comments on “Seoul: Yeouido// Digitalizing the commute experience to camouflage Yeouido’s grid with Seoul’s complexity

  1. This Seoul public transportation system is a worth learning system for other big cities when considering their own city planning system. I am very impressive of this transportation system designed for buses, Bus, taxis, mass transfer station and parking lots, especially the Buses system, which influence a lot of citizens living in a big city. A effective and safe bus service system, such as the electronic real-time information and colour-coded design benefit the citizens a lots.

  2. ‘Smart City’ features and introducing IoT to promote better urban living are initiatives shared by many cities in the world, but to impose these ideas in the policy-making sphere and on an architectural and urban scale is lesser heard of. That’s why I find initiatives such as developing Seoul as the ‘world’s first-private car-less city’, ‘future large buildings will not have any parking lots’ and ‘existing large highways will be converted into underground tunnels for green public space’ to be very bold moves.
    I wonder if Seoul is the pioneering city in eliminating certain urban spaces to reinvent itself as a ‘Smart City’, or are there other cities developing towards that direction as well?

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