Updated June. 27, 2014 03:05
The Seoul city government has revealed Thursday its commitment to cut down the traffic fatalities of 400 a year by half by 2020. Although the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents has been decreasing from 501 in 2009, 429 in 2010, 435 in 2011, 424 in 2012 to 371 in 2013, the number of road traffic deaths in Seoul is still higher than its counterparts around the world. While 4.8 per 100,000 were dead in traffic accidents in Seoul as of 2009, other major cities show much lower fatalities - 1 in Copenhagen, 1.4 in Berlin and 1.6 in Tokyo.
On the same day, the Seoul city government has also announced the comprehensive plan to reduce the traffic fatalities and renewed its commitment to enhance the safety measures for vulnerable road users such as senior and children. The senior protection zones are planned to be expanded from 59 to 69 places this year, and the number will be increased by 20 every year from 2015. Enforcement measures will be taken to shorten the renewal interval of drivers license from 5 years to 3 years for the elderly over 65. The number of school zones is subject to increase to 1,703 by the end of 2014, and 50 or more places are to be newly designated as school zone every year.
The citys plan will make it more convenient for pedestrians to cross crosswalks. The fixed amount of time that traffic signals afford pedestrians to cross the street is to be adjusted appropriately for day of the week or specific time slots. The crosswalks with heavy pedestrian traffic will be widened, and new lighting will be installed around crosswalks centering on the frequent accident locations to prevent night time accidents.
Plans are under active review to lower the city-wide speed limit to 50 kilometers per hour. The lowered speed limit will be enforced first on the side streets and expanded to other types of roads. More roundabouts are to be built with the number increased from 23 to 38 by the end of 2014.