Urban mobility: The Cooperation Between Sejong and Sofia Continues

18 January, 2022

Sofia’s participation in the International Urban & Regional Cooperation (IURC) program provides new opportunities for the capital to be part of an international network for the exchange of digital practices.

In recent months, the team of Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development (Innovative Sofia), represented by Slaveya Georgieva, has been actively cooperating with the IURC Korea partners in the program. The main topic of the last jointly organized meetings was “Transport”, during which many good practices were exchanged. Organizing discussions in which to share common interests on the topic and plans for joint collaboration was the main goal of the initiative.

The last meeting between Sofia and Sejong took place on January 12, 2022, focusing on “public bike service” and “mobility as a service”. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the private sector from Korea, the company MaaS Asia Inc., which focuses on mobility as a service.

Main focus for the city of Sejong during the meeting:

“Ouling” service for public bicycles – created especially for the urban environment of the city of Sejong. The service is designed to make renting and returning a bicycle easy and convenient. Since its inception, Sejong has implemented a bicycle sharing program, collecting user data and user feedback to continuously improve the service. In addition, the city currently supports research and testing of autonomous vehicles and has integrated a collaborative transport system – C-ITS – which is helping to shift the paradigm from transport management to putting people first. The private program for renting electric scooters, Alpaca was also presented during the meeting. The pros and cons of programs run by the public and private sectors were highlighted. It became clear that the public program has a lower quality of service, but better in terms of cost, while the private program provides a higher quality of service for a higher price.

Meanwhile, in order to encourage citizens to use public transport, Sofia places strong emphasis on standardizing tickets for different modes of transport. For the capital of Bulgaria, mobility can also play a role in transforming public space. The Sofia Green Line, an initiative that created unobstructed bicycle lanes (underground and aboveground) on abandoned areas and unused railway lines, helps connect the city’s former industrial zones with the rest of it. This increases both the use of bicycles and the attractiveness of the neighborhoods. The difficulty in front of Sofia lies in the already built urban infrastructure, in a planned city like Sejong things are easier, so it is necessary to update and consider expanding cycling facilities, not only in Sofia.

Other topics discussed include big data and privacy. The two cities will also share their lists of universities and research institutes and contact persons involved in smart mobility in order to continue the exchange of new knowledge and technologies in this field.

The discussion with the IURC program partners continues actively, and a visit by the IURC Korea team in Sofia is expected in May.

You will find more of the last meeting between Sofia and Sejong, which took place on December 15, 2021, here.

You can find more about the participation of Sofia Municipality in the International and Regional Cooperation Program (IURC) here.