Fellow Koreans, citizens of Incheon and residents of Songdo,
Korea is a country with a very high degree of urbanization. Nine out of every ten people live in cities, and the people’s quality of life is tied to them. We have constantly developed our urban areas for a better quality of life. Now we are constructing “smart cities” to meet the demand for future cities. A digitally connected city will improve the living environment and the quality of public services such as epidemic prevention and control, safety, transportation, caregiving and healthcare. We can also deal with torrential rains, typhoons and other natural disasters more safely by advancing urban infrastructure. Smart cities have become the inevitable urban future if not for anything else than creating eco-friendly municipalities that save energy and help mitigate climate change. The world will engage in yet another fierce competition over being the first to develop and proliferate smart cities.
Today, I have come to the Integrated Smart City Operation Center in Songdo, Incheon, to show the people the present and future of smart cities. As the first of these in Korea, Songdo is an innovative municipality marked by endless experiments and ongoing evolution. The Integrated Smart City Operation Center is monitoring traffic, crime, fire and environmental pollution around the clock through intelligent CCTV surveillance cameras and sensors installed citywide. The Center connects among the relevant organizations and addresses problems instantly when situations arise. The adoption of these state-of-the-art methods has helped Incheon’s Yeonsu-gu district lower the crime rate by 14.2 percent. In partnership with private businesses, the district is carrying out various experimental programs, including the operation of demand-responsive buses whose optimal routes are automatically adjusted in accordance with changing passenger volumes.
The Government will accelerate the construction of smart cities as the Korean New Deal’s core project which are based on digital and green technologies. We will come to experience smart cities in this leading example of Songdo, thereby getting a head-start in spearheading the era of smart cities worldwide.
I extend my profound gratitude and respect to the citizens of Incheon, Mayor Park Namchoon and other relevant officials in the Incheon Metropolitan Government and businesses, who have set a successful model for smart cities by unceasingly innovating and taking on new challenges.
Two years ago, my Administration adopted a policy to construct smart cities as a key administrative priority. Since then, we have extensively applied digital technologies to address urban issues, including the construction of national pilot cities. Currently, 28 local governments across the country are implementing customized smart projects that could address various urban issues such as transportation, the environment and safety. A parking lot sharing service that brings together information from public and private parking facilities has made it more convenient to find parking spaces. The installation of electrical fire sensors at traditional markets has helped prevent fires. On-call automobile sharing services such as demand-responsive buses and large van taxis are assisting with the mobility of the socially vulnerable, including elderly citizens and people with disabilities, as well as those living in areas where public transportation is not easily accessible.
Smart cities are mainly about building an intelligent urban operation system by utilizing data collected citywide from CCTV surveillance cameras and sensors. To date, these integrated data platforms have been established in 49 local governments nationwide to quickly share data with related agencies such as police stations and fire departments. As a result, crime prevention, welfare and public security services – for women’s safe returning home, the search for elderly people with dementia and finding missing children – have all been strengthened.
Smart city technologies have played a significant role in Korea’s COVID-19 response. Big data analysis technologies for urban areas and CCTV surveillance cameras were employed in the epidemiological investigation system, dramatically reducing the time required to identify confirmed patients’ whereabouts.
The national pilot city project, which creates full-fledged smart cities from the very beginning of a new town development, is also picking up steam.
In the Busan Eco Delta City, robots will be widely used in everyday life, including for caregiving and delivery, and the digital water management system will help lower water consumption while providing clean water that does not require a purifier in the home.
The pilot project in Sejong City is demonstrating cutting-edge technologies through bold regulatory innovations to create a municipality where people can move conveniently without having to drive, thanks to advanced transportation services such as self-driving shuttles. Smart technologies that have been successfully proven in the national pilot city project will be applied to the planned construction of new towns going forward.
We now aim to emerge as a country which possesses one of the world’s top-notch smart cites by implementing the Korean New Deal. We will build people-centered municipalities where safety and wellbeing are guaranteed. Our smart city technologies have great potential. Our country’s digital competitiveness is among the best in the world, as evidenced by our being ranked first in the OECD Digital Government Index and in the penetration rates of high-speed internet and smart phones. The city of Seoul ranked third in the Smart City Government Rankings while Daegu, Busan and Sejong City received Smart City Asia Pacific Awards. In addition, they are helping to formulate smart city master plans in 12 cities outside Korea.
The global smart city market is expected to grow more than 14 percent annually on average to reach US$820 billion in 2025, and smart cities are fully viable as a new economic growth engine. The Government will invest 10 trillion won in the smart city project by 2025 and create more than 150,000 jobs.
To this end, we will proceed with three strategies.
First, we will swiftly create smart cities nationwide. By the end of this year, the Government will spread the integrated data platforms in 108 local governments across the nation and work to ensure that 60 percent of the people have hands-on experience of smart cities. We will also disseminate the technologies already proven in resolving urban problems such as smart crosswalks and advanced unmanned drone delivery to other local governments. In addition, we will accelerate the construction of pilot “smart city” projects so that people can move into the smart cities in Busan from next year and in Sejong City from 2023.
Second, the Government will digitalize public infrastructure, including roads and railroads. By attaching IoT sensors to roads, railroads and bridges nationwide, we will analyze and safely manage real-time situations and significantly reduce maintenance costs. Moreover, we will protect people’s lives and safety from monsoon rains, downpours, typhoons, landslides, fires and other natural disasters by establishing remote control systems along rivers, dams, roads, and water supply and drainage networks.
For logistics and shipment digitalization, the Government plans to create smart logistics pilot cities that utilize robot and drone deliveries by 2022 and build one hundred smart logistics centers by 2025.
The competitiveness of self-driving technology depends not only on autonomous vehicles manufactured by businesses but also on infrastructure such as roads and maps. We will install base stations and sensors on major roads throughout the country by 2025 and create detailed 3D maps for four-lane or wider roads nationwide, thereby establishing the cooperative intelligent transport system. By doing so, we will become the world’s first to commercialize Level 4 fully autonomous vehicles by 2027.
Third, we will expand the country’s smart city capabilities by cooperating with local governments and businesses. We will foster a smart city industry ecosystem in which startups and business ventures create new services by sharing urban data. Smart city functions will be expanded to surrounding areas through the Regionally Balanced New Deal so that the national pilot cities and existing urban centers do not get cut off from each other. Moreover, beginning with the national pilot cities, citizens will be able to directly participate in planning and operating smart cities, solve urban problems together, raise the quality of life and gather wisdom for protecting personal information.
Fellow Koreans, citizens of Incheon and residents of Songdo,
We have been quantitatively expanding our cities so far. As a result, we are now faced with growing inconveniences such as environmental pollution and traffic congestion as well as the problems of widening urban-rural gap and regional imbalance. We will raise the quality of metropolitan areas through smart cities. Equipped with the Korean New Deal, we will complete the world’s best and most advanced smart cities.
We have ample capabilities and confidence to build such smart cities. They provide the answers for achieving a globally leading economy, balanced national development and a country where everyone prospers together. Regardless of their location and size, they will play a reliable role in helping people enjoy safer, higher-quality lives.
Smart cities are just around the corner. Together with the people, businesses and local governments, the Government will turn this future vision into reality.