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Anyang transforms from commuter town to smart city

Satellite city south of Seoul aims to develop cutting-edge tech, ensure public safety

June 19, 2024 - 16:56 By Lee Jaeeun By Park joung kyu
Anyang Mayor Choi Dae-ho (Anyang city government)

The city of Anyang, located in the heart of Gyeonggi Province, has now set a new course in aiming to become a globally recognized smart city through innovative development, the mayor says.

Due to its proximity to Seoul, Anyang was once regarded primarily as a commuter city. However, it now wants to position itself as a self-sufficient city.

"Anyang aims to enhance its competitiveness by swiftly incorporating the 'fourth industrial revolution' technologies. This will ensure the safety of daily life for our citizens, create jobs and opportunities and strengthen welfare and education," Mayor Choi Dae-ho said.

The city is working on the Bakdal Smart Valley development project, the Indeogwon Compact City project and the Anyang City Hall Relocation Project, Choi outlined.

The Bakdal Smart Valley project is to relocate military ammunition facilities in Manan-gu underground and renovate the existing space on the ground into an integrated zone to nurture talent for new industries such as bio sciences.

Anyang Mayor Choi Dae-ho explains key directions for the Indeogwon Compact City project on June 5. (Anyang city government)

The Indeogwon Compact City project plans to develop an area of about 160,000 square meters around Indeogwon Station into a compact city with high-density development, allowing various facilities to be used in one space. Meanwhile, the Anyang City Hall Relocation Project aims to attract large companies and startups to the current city hall site to create the next generation of growth engines. The city hall will be relocated to a less developed site in Manan-gu.

Anyang also hosts an annual science festival in line with the fourth industrial revolution. The Smartium Festival Anyang, held at the Anyang Sports Complex on June 1-2, attracted over 43,000 participants. Attendees experienced technologies during the festival including robot cafes, virtual reality and augmented reality. The festival's drone technology and coding competitions, which awarded 54 prizes, including the Minister of Science and ICT Award, were a major highlight, showcasing students' enthusiasm for scientific and technological challenges. Choi also made a striking entrance with a robot dog.

Furthermore, the city of Anyang strives to apply cutting-edge technologies to improve safety and enhance convenience, Choi said.

Anyang Mayor Choi Dae-ho takes a commemorative photo at the 2024 Anyang Youth Festival Planning Team appointment ceremony at Anyang City Hall on May 14. (Anyang city government)

Anyang opened a new “Smart City Integrated Center” adjacent to the Dongan-gu District Office in April. The center, which spans 5,753 square meters across four floors, monitors urban safety, traffic and disaster response.

Specifically, the center monitors what artificial intelligence-backed surveillance cameras installed in the city transmit in real time to prevent and deter crime. This monitoring also enables an efficient response time to disasters such as forest fires, river flooding and road conditions.

Also, by August, passengers can ride the autonomous "Zuyaro" bus, which is currently being piloted, throughout the city. The 18-passenger bus, equipped with multiple sensors, maintains distance, stays in lanes, changes lanes and avoids obstacles autonomously. The city said the buses offer enhanced safety and increased efficiency, making them superior to conventional buses. The buses operate under constant supervision with trained drivers and safety personnel onboard, sharing real-time data with the Smart City Integrated Center and utilizing high-precision digital maps to ensure safety and handle emergencies swiftly.

“The city will continue to develop new public transportation models to enhance safety and convenience for the people,” Choi noted.

Anyang is implementing various smart city projects beyond the autonomous bus initiative, according to Choi. These projects include the Emergency Vehicle Priority Signal System launched in December 2022, which allows emergency vehicles to change traffic signals to secure vital response times, the Senior Citizen Smart Safety Service, recognized as a top government innovation in 2023, which provides AI-enabled voice recognition devices to elderly households for quick emergency response, and the Smart School Zone Safety System, which uses AI-backed cameras to monitor pedestrian and vehicle activity in school zones.

“The emergency vehicle priority signal system has reduced the average dispatch time for emergency ambulances from 12 minutes to six minutes, and the elderly voice recognition service has responded to 300 senior citizen emergencies to date,” a city official said.

Anyang became the first city in Korea to be certified as a smart city by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in September 2021 and was recertified in December 2023. It was also the first local government to obtain the ITU smart city international standard certification evaluated by the International Telecommunication Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations.

“I will continue to strive (for Anyang) to become a smart city that the world is paying attention to, and I will promptly push forward the various projects that I promised to the people,” Choi said.

Choi Dae-ho (left), mayor of Anyang, poses after signing an agreement on Jan. 29 with GTX-C for the installation of Indeogwon Station on the GTX-C line. (Anyang city government)