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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 during the last decade. 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 500 billion South Korean Won market in 2020. 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. Seoul Bike, also called Ddareungi, is introduced in order to reduce road traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. The number of Seoul Bike users increased steadily and the cumulative number of rentals exceeded 30 million as of September 2019. As one of the last mile transportation methods, it was mostly used for a short distance within four kilometers.

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 it was estimated that it would 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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Transportation in South Korea

Impacts of COVID-19 on mobility market

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