January 22, 2006

Seoul, Korea Honored for Sustainable Transport Achievements

Under the leadership of Seoul Mayor Myung Bak Lee, a four-mile elevated highway that once covered the Cheonggyecheon River in the city center was replaced with a riverfront park, high quality walkways, and public squares. Exclusive median bus lanes have been put on 36 miles of congested streets and the city government is now planning additional bus lanes as part of a broader initiative to improve all aspects of the city’s bus system.

Mayor Lee belongs to a new generation of bold mayors and governors around the world who are tackling seemingly intractable problems like traffic gridlock and air pollution – and winning.

“Managing traffic and expanding travel choices are keys to improving and sustaining Seoul’s economy, environment, and livability,” said Mayor Lee. Seoul boasts a population of over ten million.

“I am honored that our efforts are being recognized as a leading example for how cities around the world can simultaneously boost the quality of life for their citizens while helping to address the critical urban problems facing them,” he added. Elected in 2002, Mayor Lee is currently a leading candidate for South Korea’s presidency.

Mayor Lee was represented at the ceremony by Jung Woo Chang, Director-General of Seoul’s Transportation Improvement Bureau. In accepting the award, Mr. Chang discussed the impact of Seoul’s shift from a car-oriented to a pedestrian-friendly city, which includes an increase in daily transit ridership by almost one million passengers and a doubling of bus speeds on some corridors. Significant reductions in traffic congestion costs, air pollution, and fuel consumption have followed.

The Sustainable Transport Award is given annually and recognizes a city that best exemplifies practices that reduce fuel use, emissions, and traffic accidents, improve mobility for the poor, and enhance the quality of space for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For more information about the Sustainable Transport Award, contact Aimee Gauthier at agauthier@itdp.org.

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