Connections is a weekly series of knowledge notes from the World Bank Group’s Transport & Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Global Practice. It covers projects, experiences, and front-line developments.
Megacities in developing countries
suffer from serious traffic congestion, high levels of
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and heavy air pollution.
These urban areas face a stark dilemma: economic expansion
attracts more people and vehicles; but the resulting traffic
and pollution hinder further growth while reducing the
quality of life for their citizens. Not long ago, Seoul
faced a similar conundrum. Choked with pollution and traffic
jams, it changed course and helped Korea make a historic
transition to green urban transport. It shifted from
supply-side policies focused on expanding roadways and metro
lines to green demand-side policies focused on creating
transit-oriented cities. Today, Seoul boasts a
passenger-trip share for metro and bus of more than 60
percent. Energy consumption in Korea’s road sector is lower
than in other countries with similar gross domestic product
(GDP). Congestion costs have been decreasing, and carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions in the transport sector have been
kept under control. This path breaking transition was
founded on multimodal solutions integrated by information
and communication technology (ICT) in a context of strong
political leadership and public financing.