Seoul Announces Initiatives to Improve Pedestrian Environments

Seoul Pedestrians

Seoul City announced a number of new policies and initiatives to help improve pedestrian environments within the city on April 23. Listed below are some of the plans in store:

  • One that has been making the headlines is a policy that will see the height of curbs at pedestrian crossings to be reduced from 20cm to 1cm. The city hopes that the change will help make the transition between roads and footpaths easier for pedestrians. (Although we worry it might make it easier for motorbikes to drive up onto the pavement!)
Seoul Pedestrian Policy

These tactile warning can get quite slippery in the raing. Image — WikiCommons

  • Improving footpaths by replacing the current PVC based tactile warning for the visually impaired with concrete tactile domes. The current material can get very slippery during snow or rain.
  • When footpath maintenance is taking place, “pedestrian safety helpers” are to be dispatched near schools and other places with lots of pedestrian traffic to help direct people and assist any disabled or elderly persons if needed.
  • Numerous objects which get in the way of pedestrians such as lampposts, subway vents and power/telecommunications cabinets will undergo rearrangement starting from 2016.
  • Manholes which have largely stayed the same over the years, are also on the list to get a makeover by adding related historic or cultural information about the local area to them. A trial of this initiative will begin in August on the manholes in Insadong.
  • The city will be making it mandatory for workers involved in paving footpaths to receive specialist pavement construction training with an aim to make Seoul a city of expert pavement engineers.

Seoul City says that these policies put forward are to assist the disabled and elderly pedestrians in more subtle ways as well as strengthen its expertise in pavement construction.

It’s great to see more of a focus being put on pedestrians and making footpaths safer and more accessible. I’ve definitely found myself almost slip on the current yellow tactile warnings a number of times and often had to take extra care when they were covered with snow. While manholes are also not a major, it will be great to see them offer local information. My old neighbourhood did actually have some custom manholes which I always thought was a nice touch, especially on streets with a lot of food traffic.



Source:  Yonhap News | MediaHub Seoul | Image – CC MediaHub Seoul

About This Author

<p>Originally from New Zealand, Andy moved to Korea in 2007 and very quickly became interested in the many different public transport and urban development projects around Korea. He currently lives in Sejong city and is particularly interested in rail projects, transport hubs and technology.</p>


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  • I’m loving the Manhole Initiative. Aside from Daejeon, Andong, Seoul (oddly enough) and university campuses, no cities here have even slightly decorative ones.

    Meanwhile, over in Japan, there are tourists that go around taking photos of each city’s decorative manholes. Each municipal region has its own custom deisgn that fits a similar basic template. City name around the edge in a decorative font, and then a linework image in the middle showing whatever cultural product the area was historically known for. Or just a koala, because they inexplicably love koalas. One or two rare coloured-in varieties are also typically hidden in each municipal region to be discovered by curious pedestrians. Always thought more countries could benefit from the beautification and local cultural hints brought on by such a project.

    Anon 3 years ago Reply

    • Thanks for the comment. That’s really interesting to hear! I hope they do put some effort into them so they can actually leave an impression with residents and visitors like the ones you’ve described above. :)

      Andy Tebay 3 years ago Reply

  • I wish they would include initiatives to enforce traffic safety for pedestrians like motorbikes on the sidewalks. Which agency is in charge of that?

    Anonymous 3 years ago Reply

    • If the city made a smart phone app for reporting motorbikes on the sidewalk, I think I’d run my phone’s battery down to zero every time I left the house. I just can’t believe there’s not more enforcement of that.

      James 3 years ago Reply

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