Busan to set up barrier-free public transportation environments for disabled

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : March 3, 2021, 09:55 | Updated : March 3, 2021, 09:55

[Courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport]

SEOUL -- The southern port city of Busan will establish a barrier-free environment that would help the disabled easily travel using smart city technologies. The city will demonstrate a barrier-free public transport-sharing platform to offer on-demand free carpool and call taxi services.

Barrier-free refers to environments or products that are designed for those with physical or other disabilities. A barrier-free environment involves alternative means of access to urban structures such as steps. Ramps and elevators are used to help people with mobility problems.

Busan with a population of 3.3 million has been designated as a smart city testbed. A smart city uses mobile data communication networks, AI and internet of things (IoT) devices to collect and share data. In 2020, a consortium led by Hanwha Energy, an energy solutions company, was selected for a government project to build South Korea's first planned smart city with 3,380 households in Busan.

Busan said in a statement on March 3 that it was selected for a state-led project to establish a barrier-free system. "Busan's smart city barrier-free transport system service will be a good example of community-enterprise cooperation for other cities that face common problems such as the aging society, a shrinking population and environmental problems," said Busan's acting Mayor Lee Byung-jin.

Through a demonstration in 2020, Busan operated three digital kiosks at the city's largest train and subway station. The kiosks provide optimal routes depending on the type of disabilities, recognize sign languages, and provide information using text and images. Wheelchair users were shown the shortest barrier-free route to their destinations. 

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