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Cities in Action: South Korea’s First Ever “Transit Mall”

With a view to addressing severe traffic congestion in one of its downtown streets, the City of Daegu introduced a public transport-only district or ‘transit mall’ in 2003. The implementation of the project was delayed several years because of financial shortages and opposition among local residents and businesses. The City was finally able to establish the implementation plan in 2007, and successfully created the first-ever transit mall in the nation in 2009.

Since then, the overall conditions for pedestrians and public transport users have significantly improved. The urban environment has also been positively affected though an increase in air quality and a reduction in noise levels. A significant increase in visitors followed the revitalization of the neighborhood markets and stores, helping to boost the local economy.

Lessons Learned

The project required the transformation of entire roads and traffic systems within the project area for the construction of the transit mall. In response to the initial resistance to the project from local residents and businesses, Daegu Metropolitan City strongly promoted the potential positive impacts for the wider community.

For the effective operation of the transit mall, the City strictly restricted access to all vehicles except for public buses, taxis and delivery trucks through the use of pass cards and a ‘stagger system’. This restricted access was strongly enforced through tough regulation of traffic rules and enforcement of violations in order to ensure the safety of pedestrians and keep buses running on time.

For more information, please visit the City of Daegu website.

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Photo © Daegu Metropolitan City