Public Bicycle Program NUBIJA
Changwon City

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Environmentally-Friendly Transportation Options was Urgently Needed Due To Intensifying of Traffic Congestion - In 1974 the South Korean national government built the Changwon National Industrial Complex to create a heavy chemicals industry in the province. Then in 1980, the government founded the City of Changwon as the country’s first-ever planned city. Changwon is home to a heavily industrial economy and in 2011 was responsible for US$31.1 million, or 5.6% of the total exports from the country. However, due to its basinal topography and its characteristics of an old industrial city, the city suffered a variety of environmental problems, including air pollution, which threatened nearby ecosystems, local residents, and reduced the overall quality of life of the city. - Cities with heavy industry create a rise in medium to high average income jobs. This creates a rise in car ownership, car use, and increased traffic volume and congestion. As a result of this, average commuting time sharply increased, slowing down companies’ logistical transportation capabilities and stifling Changwon factories’ competitiveness in the marketplace. Transportation Policies Centered On Automobiles - In Changwon bicycle paths with two or more lanes were built according to urban planning guidelines. Previously, the management and maintenance of bicycle infrastructure was insufficient. As a result, the infrastructure deteriorated making bicycling inconvenient. Furthermore, due to the automobile-oriented transportation policies, which had been increasing in number, bicycle policy enforcement was nonexistent. - Also, most Changwon citizens regarded and used bicycles as a means of recreation more so than transportation. For a brief period, there was an increase in personal bicycle usage due to a rising trend in health consciousness. However there had also been problems of bike theft and vandalism. Because of personal inconveniences, such as maintenance, and structural problems, like insufficient bike lanes, parking and infrastructure, bicycle usage in the city had grown stagnant.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The City of Changwon Drew from Citizen Feedback to Create Environmentally-Friendly Transportation - In order to address citizen complaints regarding congestion problems, the city held a town hall style discussion between the mayor and its citizens. At the discussion, residents expressed their dissatisfaction with the large amounts of traffic during their work commutes, as well as their inability to make quick short-distance trips. Because of the city’s massive amounts of logistics transportation, driving in the city had become inconvenient. - To solve the problems raised by citizens, the mayor decided to develop and adopt new convenient and economical bicycle policies for the city. In 2007 it became unfortunately apparent that increasing citywide cycle ridership, even after adopting more bicycle friendly policies, wasn’t going to happen when solely relying on personal bicycle usage. The policies were then changed from being centered on personal bicycle use toward city creating a public bicycle system. After a breadth of municipal research, the city decided that a public cycle system was the best way to overcome its city’s transportation shortcomings. In 2008, the City of Changwon introduced “Nubjia,” (meaning “let’s actively go around”) as South Korea’s first-ever public bicycle system. The Introduction of Nubija Helped Alleviate Local Transportation Problems - A survey conducted by The Korea Transport Institute titled “The Impact Analysis on Bike-Sharing and Its Improvement Plan” revealed that, 43.8% of the respondents switched from private cars to Nubija. It was evident that Nubija was being used effectively as an alternative means of transportation substituting for private cars. - According to The National Ministry of Territory and Transportation’s database, in 2006 Changwon’s average internally generated traffic was 975,020 cars per day. In 2011, Gyeongnam’s average internally generated traffic per day had reduced to 959,816 cars, indicating a decrease in 15,204 cars. In 2011, Nubija’s transportation share ratio was 1.7%, which accounted for over 4,000 bikes. People used Nubija in lieu of private cars for over 16,000 trips a day. Nubija produced quantifiable results in reducing trips made by private cars and noticeably improved Changwon’s transportation environment.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The City of Changwon Used The Knowledge of Its Nubija Implementation and Management to Further Implement the Program’s Technological Capabilities and Competitiveness - In order to prevent the theft and loss of public bicycles, options for mounting a Global Positioning System (GPS) module onto Nubija were explored. This was for a more efficient management of unreturned bicycles through location tracing. To improve the efficiency of the management system and in order to establish a grievance redress system technological developments continued and a management manual was introduced. Suggesting New Convergence Policies Through the Creates effects -Nubija not only sought to develop and improve local transportation, but it was also determined to bridge gaps and create interrelated policies between departments within the city government, the private sector and the community. - Also, by combining Nubija’s administration services, creative convergence policies were created and other fields were suggested. It created provisions for the country’s first bicycle community service policy for North Korea defectors. Nubija created projects aimed to develop cultural enrichment and educate locals about the benefits of using bicycles as means of transport. Other public relations projects included bicycle safety education and the development of Nubija children’s characters for TV broadcasting and educational materials.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
- The City of Changwon set out to highlight the Nubija program’s convenience and easy accessibility. They changed “Nubija” into an acronym that stood for “Nearby Useful Bicycle. Interesting, Joyful Attraction.” As ridership patterns shifted, the city monitored changes and made adaptations to ensure an efficient system that met rider’s needs. These goals were achieved through public outreach efforts, a successful public relations campaign, and improvements in the physical hardware and infrastructure, all of which resulted in a surge in ridership numbers. Nubija Administrative System Improvements -Because Nubija was an unmanned public bicycle system that combined new IT with bicycles and bicycle infrastructure, moving forward with existing administrative legislation and regulations was difficult. There were particular difficulties in administrating the development and use of the IT technologies that were applied to the public bicycle system. When formulating the system management plans, a variety of logistics required examination like fee collection, member management, processing personal information, and a variety of other factors. New policies were created, examined, and strengthened. The Construction of a System With Easy Use and Management Unmanned, open-air Nubija terminals were constructed in areas with high population density and high foot traffic. Each new Nubija terminal had electricity, telecommunication and civil engineering needs that had to be met. However, because many of these Nubija terminal requirements had not existed in these areas previously, the city had to implement new construction methods to meet the program’s requirements. A Strategic Public Relations Push Encouraged an Increase in Ridership When Nubija was initially introduced, ridership rates were low due to a lack of promotion and citizen awareness. To address this, the city, alongside local advocacy groups, publicized Nubija’s convenience and its many advantages to citizens through a variety of media and city-sponsored events. As a result, Nubija’s image and usage increased in popularity - The following is a timeline of Nubija’s development, from planning stages to citywide implementation ▹ March 2008 - June 2008 • The city begins examining public bicycle programs from overseas to better understand system successes and to learn from past system setbacks. • The city examines designs, functions, and the production costs of all the system components. • The city examines plans for system production and management. ▹ July 2008 - September 2008 • Designs and the production of components of the system begin and main functions are established. • The name “Nubija” is selected from a public contest and is adopted by the city. • Usage plans and the fee systems are established. • Nubija’s operational format is decided. ▹ October 2008 - December 2008. • Marketing efforts aimed at increasing Nubija memberships are strengthened and service improvement plans arise. • Nubija is launched and an ongoing process of expanding terminal construction to facilitate increased ridership begins (2008 – present). ▹ 2009 • On May 3rd, President Lee Myung-bak, along with several other high government officials, come to Changwon and partake in a special bike ride to test out the Nubija public bicycle system firsthand. • The Nubija management center expands and a separate maintenance center is built in Changwon’s most densely populated neighborhood to most efficiently accommodate the Nubija system’s maintenance needs. • Nubija usage plans are changed to better fit the system’s needs and service improvements were made. ▹ 2010 and Beyond • The Changwon Bicycle Racing Public Corporation overtakes the managing operation of Nubija and expands its managerial infrastructure and capabilities. • Advertising becomes stronger and more effective resulting in an increase in Nubija memberships. • System efficiency, patent acquisition and patent application all increase, resulting in the creation of five patents.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Using Citizen Voices to Help Improve Changwon’s Commitment to the the Environment - In October 2006, Changwon proclaimed that it would become “an environmental capital city.” The city sought ways to bolster bicycle ridership as means of transportation within the city. The mayor of Changwon chose to put his commitment to the environment into practice by riding his bike to and from work for two years. - Also, since Nubija’s creation, citizens have been able to directly voice their opinions on the program to the mayor and Changwon city policy experts via Changwon City’s homepage and through a variety of social networking outlets. The mayor and City Hall reviewed citizen concerns and hosted town hall style meetings. New Departments Created to Better Facilitate Policy Development and Management - In 2008, The City of Changwon opened its newly formed “Bicycle Policy Department.” This department was the first of its kind in the entire nation and was created to handle all of the city’s public bicycle-related matters. Changwon appointed the nation’s first Municipal Bicycle Policy Specialist to head the department. - The Nubija system continued to grow so much that it quickly needed it own specific managing organization. Currently over 100 employees work with to Nubija. Community Groups Help Nubija Form Policy and Lead Pushes to Increase Ridership The City formed a ‘Committee for Invigorating Bicycle Ridership,’ an organization led by local cycle enthusiasts and bicycle experts, and shared ideas about Nubija including its design, fare charges, operational methods, time limits, station locations and other factors, which would ultimately help shape program and policy implementation. - The participation of members from local bicycle organizations, lead to public excitement and bolstered media coverage. Nubija put forth various kinds of cycle advocacy campaigns and an aggressive public relations push to increase interest among citizens.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The City Used Its Own Funds, National Grants and Public-Private Partnerships to Efficiently Fund the Nubija Program - From 2008 to 2013, The City of Changwon spent US$11.5 million on Nubija terminals and system construction, and US$3 million on Nubija bikes. The City of Changwon carried out the Nubija system using funds from its own local government budget. However from 2010 to 2012, Changwon was selected as one of the 10 foothold cities by the national government, thereby receiving close to an extra US$3 million in grants to support its Nubija construction costs. These national grants are included when reflecting project costs. - To reduce costs of purchasing Nubija bikes, the city sought to create partnerships with private sector companies and asked for their participation in helping to purchase and donating bikes to the Nubija program. With each donation, the logo of the donating business was prominently display on each Nubija bike. Companies used this as a way to advertise how their business was creating a positive difference in the community, thus improving its public perception. Donating funds for these Nubija bike purchases was also a tax write off for the companies. As a result of these public-private partnerships, Nubija received a total of 1,732 Nubija bikes from four different corporations, reducing purchasing costs by US$1 million. Changwon Used Experts, City Resources and Its Community to Further Nubija’s Success - The city developed supplemental technologies that improved customer access and user experience, that were quickly incorporated into the management system. - To further develop the Nubija system’s technology and management, the city’s newly hired Municipal Bicycle Policy Specialist collaborated with the Nubija management office’s IT engineers to strengthen the system. - Also, members of the cycling organizations such as “The Changwon Bicycle Federation” and “The Changwon City Council for Bicycle Encouragement” helped lead aggressive public relations campaigns and activities advocating for citizens using Nubija for commuting, shopping and other daily activities.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Low Program Fees Resulted in Higher Participation and Services Were Expanded to Foreigners Living in Changwon - The city established Nubija in order to create an economic, eco-friendly mode of transportation available for all Changwon citizens. As a result, the daily average use of the Nubija system dramatically increased, as shown here: 241 checkouts (2008)→3,721 checkouts (2009)→5,986 checkouts (2010)→12,705 checkouts (2011)→15,894 checkouts (2012). In fall of 2012 daily usage was close to 25,000 checkouts per day. - Because of its emerging economy and many factories, Changwon is home to many non-Korean foreign residents. The Nubija program was extended to foreigners. Efficiency Helps to Transform Nubija’s Administrative Policies - Newly hired cycle infrastructure employees, like cycle mechanics, delivery drivers and kiosk electronic repair staff, joined Nubija to help the organization meet increasing system demands. - Nubija switched from being a vertically run organization, with the city government leading and implementing its policy and ideas, toward adopting a horizontal policy that placed value on civilian input and criticisms. This helped make the Nubija system more competitive, innovative, and better suited for the public’s needs. - Nubija won the 15th Annual “Brands of Korea” Grand Prize. This award was decided by private enterprises, and specifically honors an organization’s brand value and brand management. System Technology Maximizes Time and Cost Efficiency - Because Nubija is a public service for all Changwon citizens, it was inevitable that there would be more civil complaints compared to other general administrative services. To create a more integrated and user-friendly experience, Nubija let customers access information and voice their thoughts through its website, an automated hotline, smartphone applications, and a variety of other forms of social media. - These forms of customer service and outreach made the system more financially efficient and made Nubija staff more efficient in the work place. Consider the following example: A citizen discovers the ‘Nubija’ bike he/she has is in need of repair. They flag the bike on their ‘Nubija’ app on their smartphone, a delivery truck picks up the damaged bike from the terminal, the bike is repaired in the repair center, put back on a truck, and finally back into a terminal. This was all done without a single phone call, thereby freeing up employee time and increasing worker efficiency.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Constantly Assessing Customer Satisfaction Helps Nubija Create the Best System for Its Citizens - Since Nubija’s beginning, the city had always sought to collect public opinion from riders and non-riders in the community to build a system that best meets residents’ needs. As mentioned before, this had been done through in-person and online surveys, the Nubija website, smartphone applications, and a variety of other forms of social media. - At the end of each year, Nubija uses its customer survey results to evaluate its levels of customer satisfaction in the areas of usage patterns, inconveniences, needed improvements, prospective terminals for the following year, and overall of satisfaction. - During these year-end evaluations, Nubija examines areas where usage was particularly high, in order to uncover specific reasons for its success. The hope is to learn from these successes and emulate this success in areas with low usage. This constant gathering of customer data allows Nubija to learn from user behavior and thereby create an improved system that is better equipped to meet the needs of it citizens. Using System Technology to Address and Monitor Maintenance Issues - Changwon continued to develop newer and better ways to make its system run more efficiently, particularly with regard to identifying and repairing bikes in need of maintenance. Nubija improved how it identified bikes in of repair, making Nubija a more a convenient user experience for customers. Users could report bike maintenance issues via the Nubija smartphone application, the Nubija call center, or at any Nubija terminal, using the terminal’s touch-screen kiosk. Technology was also developed that allowed the system to predict, when a certain bike was in need of repair from usage patterns. If a bike is checked out and then returned within 30 seconds, and this happens three times, its ID code is flagged and is designated as in need of repair. These modals help make a better more efficient system. - As mentioned earlier this process can run at peak efficiency whereby no phone calls are integral. A bike is flagged as damaged, the flagged bike ID code appears on every delivery truck’s onboard tablet computer, and then the bike is picked up and delivered to the Nubija repair center.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
A Lack of Program Understanding Led to Opposition From Citizens - When Changwon began its early construction of Nubija terminals, citizens near construction sites opposed the terminals, due to a lack of understanding of the project. To address this issue, the city rolled out a public relations campaign to help persuade locals about convenience of public bicycles. New construction practices were applied to minimize impact on the neighborhoods and in neighborhoods with the strongest opposition, the mayor of Changwon directly met with residents to address concerns. The Trial and Error of Developing the Nubija Program - Because Nubija was the country’s first ever self-developed public bicycle system, it was inevitable that its initial stages would be a series of trial-and-error. However through this accumulated knowledge, the Nubija management team was able to quickly make their system better and more efficient year after year. In addition, by developing IT technology that was both highly advanced and homegrown in Changwon, the Nubija system was able to tout its success as local, creative, internationally competitive, and most importantly, uniquely Korean. Minimizing Operational Costs - Public bicycle systems in other cities are commonly implemented by private companies, and cultivate funding entirely through users. Nubija, however, is a not-for-profit organization that is funded by the city government, with user fees making back a modest 20% of the program’s yearly funding. As Nubija usage continued rising, operational costs continued to increase. To reduce the financial burden of increasing operational costs, while not raising user membership fees (to maintain the program’s popularity), the government constantly sought ways to minimize operational costs. To cut costs, the city used an in-house developed IT system, donated Nubija bikes from public-private partnerships and expanded its marketing efforts to a variety of target income brackets to boost membership registrations.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Nubija Community Service Campaigns - With Nubija in the limelight as an environmentally friendly means of transportation, Changwon used its Nubija program to campaign several community service projects. In November of 2013, Nubija honored 323 men and women worthy of national merit living in Changwon, by giving them Nubija service discounts. Also in 2013, Changwon led a first of its kind community service project that granted North Korean defectors job opportunities with the Nubija operations team. Nubija will lead an even more aggressive push to hire even more North Korean defectors in 2014. Making Changwon an Environmental Capital - The City of Changwon initiated the Nubija public bicycle share system as part of its “Clear Blue Skies” project, which sought to turn Changwon into South Korea’s leading environmental city. Because of Nubija, and many of its other environmental policies, Changwon is currently one of the world’s foremost green cities. The following is a list of national government awards recognizing the Nubija system and applauding its policies and environmental and social impact: 1. Selected as “A Top 10 Cycling City” (June 2010); 2. Selected as city with “Highest Increase in Bicycle Use” (June 2010); 3.Awarded the “Green Transportation Award” from the Ministery of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs (November 2010) 4. Awarded the “Prime Minister’s Award for Public Service Website” (November 2011); 5. Awarded the “Presidential Award for Green Cities” (June 2012); 6. Awarded of the “Prime Minister’s Award for Knowledge of the Republic of Korea” (October 2012); 7. Awarded the “Brands of the Korea Award” by the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Resources. These honors affirmed the Nubija system as an integral part of making Changwon the green capital of South Korea. -Also, as seen from local social networking outlets, many of Changwon citizens took large amounts of pride in Nubija and enjoyed high levels of satisfaction with the city’s public bicycle system. According to a 2011 survey, 92.3% of people who used Nubija felt satisfied with the product. Nubija Creates Positive Changes in the Lives of Changwon Citizens - Changwon residents have continued to experience the many positive effects of the Nubija program. (1) Nubija’s needed manpower to operate the system created jobs in the community (2) Nubija has helped create a better sense of community among residents though a variety voluntary Nubija activities and boosted local economies by increasing foot traffic. (3) Nubija serves as an alternative form of transportation for short distances, especially from 12:00AM to 5AM when bus service is not available (also reducing the risk of drunk drivers in the community) (4) Because Nubija decreased passenger traffic volume by about 16,000 cars per day, there was a reduction in gas costs and CO2 emission. (5) Nubija provides an active form of transportation enabling users of all ages to get exercise as they move around the city thereby reducing stress, improving health, and reducing risk of obesity and heart disease. - In 2012, the Korea Transport Institute, the national transportation research and development institute, revealed that the effects and the benefits of Nubija amounted to a total of US$3.75 million, just for 2012. Of this total, US$2.25 million was attributed to personal benefits (US$810,000 worth of speeding up work commutes, US$780,000 worth of bettering personal health, US$660,000 worth of reduced transportation costs) and US$1.5 million was attributed to social benefits (US$720,000 worth of environmental benefits, US$330,000 saved from reducing car accidents, US$450,000 worth of money put into the regional economy). Also, after an economic analysis, the cost-benefit was 1.0, thereby demonstrating that Nubija actually improved the local economy. Because of economic and efficient budgeting, Nubija was able to create a wide variety of positive effects for the city, local ecosystems, local economies and the entire community.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Nubija Technology was Adopted as a National Standard - In 2009, Changwon hosted the very first National Bicycle Festival. Later that year in May of 2009, the national Ministry of Administration and Safety penned its National Bicycle Policy Master Plan, and wrote a special provision for public bicycles using Nubija policies for guidance. - Also, the national government’s Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Resources’ Agency for Technology and Standards officially recognized Nubija’s system and IT technology developed by the City of Changwon. Nubija and the City of Changwon assisted the national government and helped create the national standard for public bicycle share program technologies across country. Changwon Became A Role Model for Cities Hoping to Introduce Public Bicycles - The Nubija system has been benchmarked by ambassadors from visiting cities, corporations and organizations from all across the country. From January 2010 to October 2013, a total of 4,082 people representing 254 cities and organizations toured and experienced Changwon’s Nubija system. South Korea’s leading cities, such as Seoul, Suncheon and Ansan have since introduced public bicycle systems in their cities, benchmarking the successes of Changwon’s homegrown IT and system technology. With Its Low-cost, High-efficiency Value, the Nubija Public Bike System Can Be Applied Anywhere in the World International organizations and city governments have continued to show interest in Nubija’s successes, management, and technology, all of which were developed in-house and are operated by The City of Changwon. Requests for visits and case presentations continue to pour in. The Nubija program continues to draw attention not only because it is an inexpensive program that can be applied almost anywhere, but also because of its significant effects in improving the local environment. - Nubija’s successes quickly became known in the international community, and Changwon was soon invited to events around the globe to share knowledge about its Nubija program and city bicycle policies.. Since 2010 over 370 foreigners from 17 organizations have visited Changwon to observe, experience and benchmark the Nubija program. - Changwon also continues to receive requests from around to world to come and present its city bicycle policies and Nubija program. The Changwon mayor received invitations from the 2009 ICLEI World Congress (Admont), the 2010 World Congress for the C40 Weather Leadership Group (Sao Paulo), the 2011 Ecological Recuperative Powers City Congress (Bonn), the 2011 Eco-City World Summit (Montreal), and the 2012 Rio+20 (Rio de Janeiro). In 2013, the Mayor of Changwon was invited to SIPA Global Mayors Forum at Columbia University in New York City. He personally presented his process of developing Nubija and his processes for judging policies as mayor. As seen from Nubija’s strong domestic and international responses, Nubija is a stellar municipal program that can be applied anywhere.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The Importance of Developing Custom-made Policies Through Citizen Feedback and Participation - A public bicycle system was introduced to inspire and develop a new lifestyle in Changwon, whereby residents would change their personal transportation habits from automobiles to bicycles and ultimately solve Changwon’s congestion and local environmental problems. The Nubija program was a first of its kind, groundbreaking success that changed the entire country. - Provincial governments in South Korea must adhere to the national government’s various legislation and regulations, so there are often limitations in providing realistic and flexible administrative services to help solve citizens’ problems quickly and directly. -Seeing that Nubija is such a user-immersive program that required constant customer feedback, it was judged that there needed to an active improvement from the previously existing administrative system. After undergoing these initial laborious processes, the following needs for improvement were felt: (1) a compact decision-making process and improvement of the administrative pursuit procedure; (2) An interactive collection of opinions utilizing the media and the equipment frequently used by the citizens; and, (3) aggressive public relations policy and participation. We hope that in the future when, pursuing new policies, that the lessons learned from Nubija can be actively applied, so that policies can be materialized and can strengthen cooperation between departments. A Public Bicycle System That Will Create Changes in the Lives of People Around the World - The successful management of Nubija has played a big role opening up the conversion for more cities pursuing public bicycle programs across South Korea. As a result, many cities in Korea benchmarked Nubija and have introduced their own public bicycles policies resulting in public bicycle systems popping up across the country. All these success further put Nubija in the limelight as South Korea’s model for active, environmentally friendly, urban transportation. The national government used Changwon’s bicycle policies and the Nubija program as a national example. Furthermore, in the future, Nubija plans to continue to develop and change the lives of Changwon citizens by invigorating regional economies, helping bring together local communities, and continuing its commitment to community service. Also, Changwon’s locally developed Nubija construction and management system seeks to expand from Korea to overseas. Not only will people from all around the world be able to enjoy a bicycle system that has grown continuously more convenient and efficient, but Nubija can also help influence and inspire creativity to existing public bicycle systems in cities across the globe.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Changwon City
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Mooweon Kang
Title:   Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-10-2071-5992
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   151 Jungang-daero, Uichang-gu
Postal Code:   641-703
City:   Changwon
State/Province:   Gyeongsangnam-do

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