S. Korea to support 64 local city governments to build smart city infrastructure

Kim Joo-heon Reporter() | Posted : November 23, 2021, 14:16 | Updated : November 23, 2021, 19:35

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SEOUL -- Through a 256 billion won ($215 million) state project, South Korea's transport ministry will establish smart city platforms in 64 small and medium-sized cities by 2025. The government will cooperate with local residents to develop platforms and related services that match citizens' demands.
 
A smart city is a city platform that interconnects city infrastructure including facilities and devices using mobile cable networks. A smart city platform uses artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous technologies and big data to process real-time information collected through various kinds of sensors installed throughout the city. Based on collected information, city operators can quickly make choices to resolve problems or analyze data to set up future plans. Various civil services can be developed based on collected data. 
 
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement on November 23 that the ministry will select 64 local city governments to provide 4 billion won each for the development of local smart city platform. Basic smart city platforms will be established by 2025 and local citizens will be involved in the creation of tailor-made next-generation city infrastructure. 

Although South Korea has entered an early stage of nationwide smart city development, some local governments found it hard to win the hearts of citizens because the residents felt that some smart city projects were just tax-consuming works that have no relevance to their everyday lives. Some citizens have expressed doubt, claiming that smart city planners lacked in the understanding of regional situations. The transport ministry said that the new smart city project will encourage residents to interact with local governments to find the most suitable smart city model for themselves. While planning a local smart city infrastructure to solve regional issues, residents can also receive consulting from government specialists. Smart city platforms will be established in 64 cities by 2025.
 
The western port city of Incheon has showcased an excellent example of a smart city service designed to solve local problems. Incheon is operating a bus-hailing service that dispatches a small-sized bus to a group of citizens. People can create and join groups and bus routes will be generated based on their destinations. The mini-bus travel through instantly created on-demand routes to drop each passenger off at desired places. The bus-hailing service became popular in areas where the city's public transport network does not reach. The average waiting time for buses in areas that lack public transport infrastructure significantly decreased from 78 minutes to 13 minutes.
 
The central administrative city of Sejong is one of the representative smart cities in South Korea. Due to its advantage as an administrative city with lesser traffic, newly invented self-driving cars can be safely tested in the city. In October 2021, Sejong launched a demonstration project to verify the safety and advancement of autonomous outdoor service robots for food delivery, quarantine, and patrol. In June 2020, South Korea's mobile carrier LGU+ teamed up with Autonomous a2z, a domestic self-driving technology solution developer, to demonstrate and commercialize autonomous vehicle technologies in the city. 

In October 2021, Ulsan's business council was launched to set up mid-to-long-term blueprints for smart city establishment between 2022 and 2026. Various smart city promotion strategies including managing and operating infrastructure, and processes for completion inspection are being discussed. 
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