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Effects of “Walking City, Seoul” Policy and Directions for Future Researches

Author: 
Sinhae LeeㆍSangmi Jeong

The pedestrian policy of Seoul began with the declaration of “10 Commandments of the Pedestrian Block” in 2012. Since then, pedestrian-friendly policies, such as “Pedestrian-friendly City” in 2013 and “Reduction of Carriageway in Urban Main Street” in 2014, have expanded as policy basis across city administration. These policies have peaked in the policy of “Walking City, Seoul” and various pedestrian projects are underway. Now is the time to review the pedestrian policies that have been actively implemented over the last six years. This study was intended to analyze the overall effects of the pedestrian policy project of “Walking City, Seoul” and to suggest policy implications that can be referred to in the preparation of relevant pedestrian policies in the future. As a result of this study, it was found that the total number of public transportation users, floating population, and sales since the implementation of “Walking City, Seoul” pedestrian project have increased compared to those in the previous year, and they were higher than the average growth rate of Seoul. The number of public transportation users, the floating population and the sales increased by about 8.6%, about 25.7% and about 8.6%, respectively, over the last 7 yeas. In addition, as a result of conducting a questionnaire survey with visitors to representative pedestrian streets, such as Hongdae Street, Itaewon Street, and Garosu-gil Street, it was found that passenger car users spent KRW28,148 won per person and the public transportation users spent KRW23,471 won per person on the pedestrian street on an average basis. However, when comparing the stay time on the pedestrian street, public transportation users stayed more than 3 hours by 21p% compared to passenger car users. On the other hand, in the 20s, which occupy the majority of pedestrians, unlike other age groups, public transportation users consume more per person (KRW29,360 won/person) than passenger car users (KRW18,636won/person). If Seoul City selected the representative pedestrian streets in consideration of the age and means of access based on such characteristics in the future, it is expected to contribute to revitalizing the regional economy.
As a result of comparing the pedestrian projects implemented so far by the time of project implementation, it was found that the effect was in general lower as the period of the project implementation was longer. In addition, it was found that the higher the accessibility of public transportation, the greater the effect of the pedestrian project, when comparing the top ranking projects groups in the effect evaluation of the policy of “Walking City, Seoul” with other projects. In consideration of changes in the environment of Seoul, such as aging and accessibility of the public transportation, which are closely associated with pedestrian projects, together with Seoul’s transportation policy basis focusing on pedestrians and public transportation, the pedestrian rights of the elderly must be enhanced in the area around public transportation facilities. 
The pedestrian policy, which was implemented only in the transportation sector in the beginning, is gradually expanding into other areas, such as installing skywalk decks or securing public pedestrian paths connected to the neighboring streets in the housing projects when implementing urban regeneration projects. However, many of the policies are being conducted individually without inter-agency links or feedback on policies, raising a problem. Therefore, in this research, we suggest that “Walkability Evaluation”, that lets the essential factors that must be taken into consideration in the pedestrian policy be composed as evaluation items, is applied, when implementing the policies related to pedestrians in all areas.