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The Future Vision of Seoul Urban Freeway Traffic Management System

Han YoungjunㆍKi Hyeongyun

The transportation management system for urban freeway has been developed to improve road efficiency and safety by providing travel time information, traffic flow control, and managing traffic incidents. In early 2000s, Seoul Metropolitan Government established the traffic management system to manage urban freeways in Seoul. Since the system was installed, however, the facilities have become obsolete and traffic environments have changed as well. Especially, new technologies such as connected-automated vehicles are expected in the near future, and thus the time has come to review overall system including data collection and traffic information provision. In addition, the drivers’ behavior for using traffic information on freeway has been changed at large. For example, the survey of Seoul citizens reveals that most drivers get traffic information, mainly estimated time of arrival and optimal route, through their smart phone rather than variable message (VMS) on the road.

Thus, this research aims to develop the future vision of Seoul urban freeway traffic management system. To this end, this research reviews the transport policy of city government and examines examples of traffic management systems of other cities both at home and abroad. Surveys of Seoul citizens was also conducted to obtain feedback and opinions of citizens. Based on these works, five major problems for current system are derived as: (i) enormous repair and maintenance cost due to outdated facilities, (ii) need to apply new technologies for data collection and processing, (iii) extremely low use of VMS, (iv) limitations on the provision of detailed transport data required by the citizens, and (v) lack of aggressive traffic management.

To resolve these issues, this research suggests a future vision of the system as "Fully Utilized Seoul Urban Freeway" with 3 major goals including new technology application, user-oriented system, and reflecting Seoul’s characteristics. To make this happen, this research provides specific strategies to improve the existing systems in the short-term, reflect technological changes in the future and manage and control the upcoming traffic of the city in the mid and long-term, respectively.

This research also provides three policy recommendations as follows: First, improve the data collection system in line with technological changes and realign the role of VMS as information provision system; second, establish the new role of public transport management system; and third, provide measures to respond to the construction of underground highways in cities.