Sunday, November 17, 2013

Transportation and ICT in the Seoul national capital area (수도권)

The national capital area (called sudogwon in Korean) that stretches in all directions from Seoul and includes the administrative districts of Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, is the third largest urban area in the world, behind Tokyo-Yokohama in Japan and Jakarta (Jabotabek).  According to the 9th annual Demographia World Urban Areas survey “An urban area (urbanized area agglomeration or urban centre) is a continuously built up land mass of urban development that is within a labor market (metropolitan area or metropolitan region). An urban area is best thought of as the “urban footprint” --- the lighted area that can be observed from an airplane (or satellite) on a clear night.”  That makes the accompanying satellite photos very interesting. (click to see a full size version of the graphic)  They were part of a study by Brown University researchers that empirically showed how light seen from outer space could reliably serve as a proxy measure for socioeconomic development.
I've been working with a prominent Korean colleague on a paper that addresses the changing roles of citizens, corporations and government in Korea's "smart cities."   Partly for that reason, an article in today's Korea Herald caught my eye.  It is entitled "Subway mirrors urban and national growth."
Included with the article was a graphic with some very interesting data compiled by the Seoul Metropolitan Infrastructure Headquarters. (click on the graphic to see a full size version)  The data show that indeed, the subway system expanded in parallel with Korea's economic growth.  It is currently the third largest urban subway system in the world in terms of number of passengers served, and fourth largest in terms of the number of subway stations.
The Korea Herald article does not contain any ranking for mobile digital network services in the different subway systems.  However, I'm sure that such a comparison would clearly show that the national capital area subway system around Seoul is the "smartest in the world." (see my earlier post on Seoul's cyber subways here).

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