New mobility solutions in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

South Korea’s traditional means of mobility are passenger cars, public buses, and trains, not unlike many other countries. The passenger car market has grown alongside the country’s economic growth. Even with the economic difficulties in recent years, the car ownership rate and number of passenger cars each increased by over 40 percent from 2006 to 2016. Buses and trains, on the other hand, have seen decreased or fluctuating usage. In the midst of all this, alternative transport methods have appeared on the market. Increasing numbers of Koreans are sharing cars or hailing rides, as well as using public bike rentals. Personal Mobility Devices are also gaining popularity.

Car sharing in Korea grew from almost nothing to a 220 billion South Korean Won (approximately 190 million U.S. dollars) market in 2018. Most users are in their 20s and 30s, have often just started their careers, and do not own houses or cars. Car sharing puts a car at their disposal, when they want it and need it. Convenient smartphone applications and the often new-model cars offered by providers are other strengths.

Ride hailing is also widely used and the majority of survey respondents said they used ride-hailing apps. Kakao Taxi is by far the most popular application and used by around 80 percent of ride-hailers. Ride hailing is attractive because the apps are easy to use and more convenient than trying to hail a taxi on the street.

The number of public bikes rentals in the capital city of Seoul skyrocketed within a couple of years. In 2015, citizens rented merely a thousand bikes a day and a hundred thousand in a year; by 2017, the daily average was almost 14,000 bikes and over five million across the year. Bikes were often rented when people would otherwise have to walk a long distance. Over 70 percent of users were satisfied with bike sharing services. A Personal Mobility Device refers to electric-powered, low to medium-speed (less than 40 km/h), personal means of transportation such as the Segway, electric bikes, scooters, skateboards, and more. Segways and other devices have drawn increasing public interest and stimulated market growth for such devices. As of 2016, the market size was around 60 thousand devices, but this is expected to grow to around 200 thousand devices by 2022. Despite increasing interest, however, as of 2019, only a third of survey respondents said they would be willing to use a PMD.

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New mobility solutions in South Korea

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Car sharing

Ride hailing

Bike sharing

Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs)

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