The Honam High Speed Railway Opens in April

Currently a train ride from Yongsan in Seoul to Gwangju takes between 2 hours 30 minutes and 2 hours 51 minutes by Korea’s bullet train KTX and it involves a change of trains in Iksan or Cheonan-Ansan. In April 2015 the Honam High Speed Rail Route (호남고속철도) is going to open and allow faster travel on a new high speed rail segment from Osong to Gwangju. Read more of this post

Bicycle Promotion Gone Wrong

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security* hold an idea contest for the promotion of cycling and enhancement of safety for cyclists in Korea at the end of last year. It was advertised on Seoul’s subway and on various government homepages. 1500 entries, divided into two age groups (school students and adults), were submitted. I’ve thought about participating but I couldn’t find the time to write something. Still, I was very curious about the outcome. When I saw the winning entries, I was somehow disappointed and it was totally different from what I  have expected. Or lets’s say it was totally different than what the majority of urban cycling advocates promote. Read more of this post

Tactical Urbanism in Seoul

Usually transport planning is directed by local authorities and citizens have limited possibilities to directly transform their surrounding. Or in other words, it is a top-down development that includes public participation through formal procedures. There are exceptions and examples of bottom-up approaches, organized by private entities or local groups. Such a grassroots development can be described as tactical urbanism (or guerilla urbanism). For literature about that concept, I recommend The Street Plans Collaborative. In Seoul there are two very interesting examples of tactical urbanism. Read more of this post

Traffic Safety and Public (Mis-)Education

This is a guest post by Max Neupert. He is an artist and academic who is interested in contemporary social and technological issues. He is a German citizen who has lived in Canada, Australia, Croatia, Bulgaria and is now based in Daegu, Korea. Max is member of ExtraEnergy, a non-profit consumer organisation for sustainable transportation with a focus on Light Electric Vehicles and electric assisted bicycles. Max is professor in the School of Fine Arts at Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan. You can reach him on Twitter @bauchhaus.
Views expressed are his own.

Part 1: Traffic safety and the education of the future motorist Read more of this post

Seoul’s New Public Bicycle System

Megacities like Paris, London and New York initiated public bicycle sharing systems with the goal to raise the share of cycling. New York has their Citi bikes, London has the Boris bikes (or officially known as Barclays Cycle Hire) and Paris begun in 2007 the world-famous Vélib’. These are all huge systems with thousands of bicycles. Once, we gave an overview of systems in Korea and until now Seoul offers only two small bike-sharing services with around 340 bicycles. This year the bicycle policy team from Seoul’s transport division was unbelievably busy with setting up a new master plan for the development of such a system. A new public bicycle sharing system will be implemented in five areas in Seoul. It is the beginning of a city-wide bike service and the transformation of Seoul’s road infrastructure to a more diverse network. Read more of this post

Darweol & Weonheung Stations to Open on 27 December

Most years a number rail/metro projects will end up being scheduled to open on the same day and this year is no different. Along with the connection between the Gyeongui and Jungang Lines mentioned in my previous post, two stations Darweol Station (달월역) and Weonheung Station (원흥역) will be opening on this day.
Read more of this post

Gyeongui Line & Jungang Line to Finally Connect

It’s almost the end of the year already! Living away from Korea and having a fairly busy job has kept me from blogging. Thanks so much to my co-blogger Nikola for helping to keep Kojects alive despite being busy with this own work.

Nevertheless I’m still keeping my eye on developments – particularly on rail projects – and to be honest it has been fairly quiet with not too many major happenings in the last two years. (Still waiting on that Maglev to open!)

Korail321908One major change coming up very soon is the final connection between the Gyeongui Line (경의선) and the Jungang Line (중앙선). From 27 December 2014 a section of track between Gongdeok Station (공덕역) and Yongsan Station (용산역) will open — finally connecting the two lines.

With the direct connection in place, the two services will now operate as one. This means you’ll be able to travel from Munsan Station (문산역) near the DMZ all the way down to Yongmun Station (용문역) in the south-eastern area of Gyeonggi Province. The new service will cut up to 30 minutes off a trip between these two stations – though I imagine this is a journey that not many would regularly make! Read more of this post

Bus Number Signs

A problem in taking a bus in Seoul was always that you have to be careful to not miss it. Your bus might have hid behind another bus and just started off before the other vehicle. Or on the median bus lanes the buses piled up and it was impossible to read the number of every bus. Seoul solved this problem without any costs and it raised the convenience of Seoul’s public transportation system even more.

How did Seoul solve that? Read more of this post

Songdo, revisited!

I’ve kept my promise of visiting Songdo in summer 2014! Songdo changed a lot since my last visit in winter 2013. First of all, there were more people on the streets. But it was also 40 degree warmer. Second, many new buildings were constructed or opened. The tallest skyscraper of South Korea opened: the Northeast Asia Trade Tower. It felt like a day isn’t enough to explore Songdo because it hosts so many different buildings, places and activities.

Many people visited and wrote about Songdo since the last visit. For example, Steve Miller made a video about the Incheon Global Campus of Songdo (here’s an article about that campus). Many international organizations moved to Songdo, among them are the Green Climate Fund and World Bank. Just some days ago there was an article about the smart city and eco-city concept of Songdo. In the Guardian Cities Colin Marshall summarized Songdo “as possibly the most humane space of its type”.  Songdo IBD also published a new promotional video about Songdo.

This time I’ve tried to visit places like the Canal Walk and the undeveloped western part that I missed the last time. I’ve took a bicycle to visit less accessible areas.  Read more of this post

The Success of Tayo Buses

Earlier this year Seoul decorated four of their buses with the main characters of the famous Korean cartoon show “Tayo the Little Bus” (꼬마버스 타요). Within a short time it became a huge success. Parents make a pilgrimage to bus stops with their children in order to ride their heroes from the TV show.

Tayo_Bus_4

All that it took was a pair of eyes and a smile on the front of the bus. On the side and the rear of the vehicles are drawings of the Tayo characters. It’s probably one of the most successful measures to promote the usage of buses towards children and parents. Read more of this post

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