International City Profile -
Seoul, South Korea
Background and Overview
South Korea is the 26th highest population country in the world, with the GDP per capita of 36,601. Seoul is South Korea's largest city and is its capital city. Seoul itself has a population of over 25 million citizens. Seoul's public transportation infrastructure is the world's most dense, and their power of technology provides 4G LTE and WiFi even inside train cars. Seoul and South Korea is one of the best countries in terms of culture, as their rapid change from traditional Korean with traditional food (that doesn't taste really good) and clothing (that looks like Japanese and Chinese ones) to what they are now in these 20 years: Korean Pop, whom they started the Worldwide trend that the world would acknowledge.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/south-korea/seoul (lonely planet)
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ks.html (Central Intelligence Agency Library)
What do I want to Know?
- What is the traffic conditions of the city?
The above photos, the photo on the left is the Traffic Volume of May 2015 from Seoul, South Korea. You can see that the total number is exceedingly high, and for even one day, the total car travel amount is 6,784,405. Seoul has a total area of 605.21 km^2, and that would mean there are approximately 11210 vehicles in one square kilometre, which did not even exceed Hong Kong's vehicles per square kilometre (4868) despite it being the most densely populated city in the World. The photo on the right shows a traffic map of Seoul (photo taken 22 May, 4pm KST), with Blue being vehicles very active, and red being vehicles not too active. Most of Seoul's roads are in blue and green, which are close to very busy, and that shows that even before it was time to return home for jobs, there were still a lot of cars around.
(Photos taken from Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency Comprehensive Traffic Information Center http://www.spatic.go.kr/wwwen/center.dev)
Wikipedia: Hong Kong, Seoul
According to BBC News, Seoul was one of the 10 cities in the World to be listed as a Monster Traffic Jam City, and that the drivers tend to ignore traffic rules, especially red lights and will then drive during red lights. In Korea, this kind of situation is called "Biting Tails" and it means you end up with some cars blocking intersections, and to an extent that you are unable to move. Seen from the photo above at one of the toll stations, there are numerous cars squished up into one area and they are unable to move, while on the right the cars exiting have no problem at all. This is also a common problem in the Hong Kong Central Tunnel especially in the morning and mid-afternoon when all the school buses are the main cause for the traffic jam.
Above is a video taken by a YouTube user about a long road in Gangnam District. You can see throughout the video that the whole road is taken up by mostly private cars, and they move at an extremely slow speed.
From the above sources, we see that Seoul's traffic is very heavy all the time, from the above data and photos. We know that everyday at anytime, the situation is almost unchanging even if Seoul has already taken action to reduce traffic with methods such as paying extra toll fee to reduce the amount of cars. The biggest problem is that there are too many private cars, and this is what always causes the jams in the city. The city government will have to attempt to limit the amount of private cars going through the city per day and to also limit the number of car registrations or the problem would never be solved.