Ulsan Intelligent Transportation System
Planning & Coordination Office, Ulsan Metropolitan Government

The Problem

Ulsan has experienced rapid urbanization and unprecedented industrialization since the early 1960s. The socio and economic changes bring sharp increase in both car ownership and the volume of urban transportation. In fact, Ulsan has encountered 7 percent of annual increase in car ownership and 5.9 percent of traffic volume annually since the designation of a "Metropolitan City" in 1997. As a consequence, traffic congestion at urban core is getting worse although the city government has consistently invested on road construction. With limited fiscal resource on transportation infrastructure, the city government is forced to seek a policy alternative to improve the efficiency of urban transportation sector.

The nature of urban transportation sector in Ulsan is greatly different from other Korean major cities' one. First, the share of traffic caused by local mainstream industries such as petrochemical, shipbuilding, and automobile is to great extent high so that urban transportation sector is always encountering serious traffic problems such as car accident and congestions.

The second factor behind poor urban transportation service is related to extensive size of administrative boundary in Ulsan that is approximately double compared to Seoul. The limited number of bus service mainly covers core area of urban center, but is less available in the peripheries of the city. Local bus service, the only available mass transportation mean in Ulsan, take 18% of all modal shares by 2000 and is placed on the lowest level among the seven largest Korean cities.

The last factor is associated to the fact that the majority of local bus company is not competitive due to small size of business structure. As a result, the quality of bus service in Ulsan is getting worse over recent years. It is obvious that the main user group such as students, women, and seniors are seriously affected by poor quality of local bus service.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The term intelligent transportation systems (ITS) refers to information and communication technology (applied to transport infrastructure and vehicles) that improve transport outcomes such as transport safety, transport productivity, travel reliability, informed travel choices, social equity, environmental performance and network operation resilience.

This advanced transportation system is regarded an appropriate policy option to the city of Ulsan where the city government is forced to meet the growing demand of urban transportation sector’s investment with limited financial resource.
In order to improve effectiveness of urban transportation system in Ulsan, the metropolitan government decided to adopt "Intelligent Transportation System" in the late 1990s. Based on the bill on "Optimization of Transportation System" enacted by central government, the city government established a comprehensive ITS plan in 2000 that all local ITS programs should be completed until 2005

The comprehensive local ITS plan designates five target areas (transportation management, electronic payment, urban traffic information, tourist information, and mass transportation) with special attention on both the increase of urban traffic efficiency and the improvement of mass transportation services.

Currently, bus service in Ulsan is played as only available mass transportation means unlike other Korean cities, where various urban transportation modes such as subway and tram are available. The heavy dependence on bus service causes several problems with regards to service schedules, convenience, and safety. Bus Information System (BIS), a subsidiary unit of ITS, provides the arrival and departure time to all bus station's information boards on real-time basis so that the bus user can reduce the waiting for bus service along with the improved convenience on mass transportation. In particular, it is greatly contributing to enhance the convenience of bus service for the residents lived at the peripheries of the city, where the very limited numbers of bus lines are in operation.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Local Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) is proposed by Transportation Bureau of Ulsan Metropolitan City. The city government customizes the contents of national ITS plan relevant for the characteristics of local transportation sector and implements whole ITS programs with special attention on policy priority.

Concerning the division of works in the operation of local ITS programs, there are distinctive roles among stakeholders. The city government (Bureau of construction and transportation) is responsible for the operation of ITS, while private sectors takes a leading role in management of intelligent system. Local police is involving in traffic flow and safety if necessary.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The city government established a comprehensive strategic plans that consists of three main programs with special attention on target areas and policy priority; (a) Establishment of ITS facilities, (b) Optimization of Local ITS, and (c) Advancement of ITS service and vehicles.

The planning stage involves establishing the needs and objectives of the initiative, identifying an appropriate modality and assessing its feasibility. There are three aspects to consider at this stage: establishment of the related-ITS facilities, collection and processing urban traffic information, and operation of Bus Information System (BIS).

The operational stage is according to the relevant benchmarks, operation target, and expectation of the users of the ITS facility. Given the construction of ITS facility is not an end itself, it is increasingly recognized that local ITS services derived at the operational stage need to be optimized for efficient ITS system. This stage is apparently focused on the optimization of whole ITS programs.

Given the above phase plans, the city government utilizes ITS system (a) to improve traffic flow, (b) to increase the efficiency of road traffic, (C) to prevent traffic accident, and (d) to provide the convenience of mass transportation (bus). Specifically, the optimization of traffic signal contributes not only to address the chronic traffic congestion at urban center, but also to increase the efficiency of road traffic flow. It also helps to reduce the number of car accident. Regarding the improved convenience of bus, local ITS processes the relevant information collected from bus in service and provides the expected arrival time to passengers through Bus Information System (BIS).

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The development of Ulsan ITS project is summarized as follow:
1.Planning and Operation stage in 2000- 2005
- Establishment of Transportation Management Center
- Building urban ITS infrastructure (VMS, VDS, CCTV)
- Providing BIS and BIT to designated zones

2. Extension stage in 2006 – 2011
- Extending ITS service area to the peripheries
- Installing real-time traffic signal control
- Building urban ITS infrastructure (VMS, VDS, DSRC, CCTV)
- Building 319 Bus Information Terminals (LED Bulletin Board)
- Installing Bus Passenger Information Terminals in 287 buses
- Extending Mobile Phone and Internet-based bus information service
- Upgrading BIS and other related services

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
As the city government has embarked on local ITS program, there were several problems in implementation process. The first problem is happened when the change of traffic signal system at a few traffic congested areas is being exercised. In order to remove such problems, the city makes great effort to optimize traffic signal system by the advanced signal sequence technique while the change of traffic s is noticed to the public in advance.

Another constraint is derived from the conflicts among stakeholders in the operation of BIS. There are several conflicts revealed including the payment of smart bus card, installation of BIS equipment, and change of registration and other non-legal issues. In order to address these problems, the city government organizes a special task-force team consisting of local bus companies and other stakeholders. As a result, the majority of BIS-related problem has been address.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Ulsan's ITS project requires a variety of resources used for the initiative. The financial resource is mainly channeling into building the ITS-related facilities including the establishment of Transportation Management Center (TMC), building of sensing, collection and processing facilities, and the service delivery of BIS.

For example, concerning the establishment of BIS in Ulsan, the city government has invested 8.7 billion Korean Won to extend a variety of local bus services vides all required information on local bus services that people can easily access by the existing BITs and mobile-based service.

The role of the experienced experts on telecommunication and information processing is essential for the establishment of effective ITS operation. The city government is now depending on the experts from the private sector.

The key benefits of ITS in Ulsan are remarkable with regard to cost-effectiveness and the level of service in urban transportation sector. The performance comparison of ITS can be evaluated by a few indicators. The traffic speed at peak hour is raised to 6.7Km/hour (24.3%) between 2004 and 2010. The economic benefit inherited from the diminished travel time is estimated to 146billion Korean Won in Net present Value (NPV), equivalent to 5.46 in the ratio of Benefit/Cost (B/C).

Of several benefits of ITS, the performance of bus service after the introduction of Bus Information System (BIS) attracts special attention in terms of efficiency and service delivery of mass transportation. Prior to the implementation of ITS, the number of total bus passenger has been continuously decreased

There is also rapid increase of bus service information through various kinds of modalities such as mobile phone (Short Message Service, Mobile application, Automatic Response System) and Internet. The number of is increased from 501,982 in 2008, to 1,333,034 in 2011.
Furthermore, the number of complaints on local bus service in 2011 has drastically decreased by 71 percent compared to those in 2004.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
It can’t be said that the application of ITS is relevant for all cities over the world. Yet, it would be a good practice of urban transportation sector to the cities where the growing demand of effective transportation is urgently required with only limited financial resource at local level. In this sense, it is already confirmed that Ulsan's ITS project attracts great attentions from policy-makers at both national and international level in terms of the possible replication on urban transportation sector.

Until recently, 456 domestic institutes relating to urban transportation have visited the city's Transportation Management Center (TMC), where the central control unit on local ITS is located to manage all relevant information to be disseminated. By 2010, there were six international trip trips for several organizations abroad.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The experience on Ulsan’s ITS provides significant implications of urban transportation sector. The first policy implication is that it would be more practical policy option increasing efficiency of transportation sector rather than spending the construction of urban transportation infrastructure. Such a supply-led approach is unlikely to be a good alternative to many developing cities that experience serious fiscal deficits. In this regard, the role of local ITS must be emphasized to developing cities where the existing infrastructure is no longer capable of absorbing rapid increase in car ridership.

The other implication of Ulsan’s case is that the integration of advanced information technology into transportation section can to a significant extent contribute to increase the efficiency of urban traffic so that an application of ITS should be encouraged.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Planning & Coordination Office, Ulsan Metropolitan Government
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Youngsung Kim
Title:   Assistant Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-52-229-2140
Institution's / Project's Website:   www.ulsan.go.kr
E-mail:   2002ulsan@korea.kr  
Address:   201, Jungang-ro
Postal Code:   680-701
City:   Nam-gu
State/Province:   Ulsan Metropolitan City

          Go Back

Print friendly Page