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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent Experience of and Prospects for High-Speed Rail in Korea: Implications of a Transport System and Regional Development from a Global Perspective

  • Author(s): Shin, Dong-Chun
  • et al.

Korea became the fifth country to offer high-speed rail services when it launched the KTX (Korean Train Express) in April 2004.

Development of the KTX grew from the realization that chronic bottlenecks on Korea's highways and railways not only caused traffic congestion but also affected the nation's ability to compete globally. The Korean government also hoped that high-speed rail would contribute to more balanced regional development and encourage residents, businesses, and governmental agencies to relocate from the overly concentrated Metropolitan Capital Seoul Region.

Though Korea's high-speed rail service, overall, has encouraged commuting from outlying areas and stimulated city and economic growth, conflicts erupted, plans had to be modified and costs ballooned.

In this paper, the Director General of Korea's Ministry of Transport, Dr. Dong-Chun Shin, offers a unique perspective of the nation's experience implementing high-speed rail. Grounded in his professional experience directing the country's high-speed rail project from 2002 to 2003, he discusses the lessons, limitations and difficulties the nation encountered as the first phase of its nationwide high-speed rail project was completed.

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