S Korea plans a network of smart highways by 2020

Seoul: South Korea has announced plans to build a network of smart expressways adapted to electric vehicles and self-driven cars in the next three years (2020) to limit traffic congestion and pollution. The government will invest $33.1 billion and plans to raise another $31.3 billion through private sector investment to finance the plan, the South Korean Transport Ministry said in a statement on Monday, EFE news reported. The new network that will add to other measures by the government, including tax cuts, to encourage the use of electric vehicles, will come equipped with charging stations for electric vehicles at key junctions. Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) will also be installed to ensure safety of autonomous vehicles and prevent accidents through a virtual structure of traffic monitoring. The government also plans to incorporate a smart toll system that will not require the installation of booths and stop or slow down of vehicles. The project also includes the construction of an additional 1,000 km of expressways that will extend the country's total road network to 5,131 km. According to the plan, 96 per cent of the country's 50 million inhabitants will be able to access the expressways in less than 30 minutes. The expressways will make 78.2 per cent of South Korea's total area accessible, up from the present 70 per cent, according to the ministry.