The City of Seoul seeks to reduce carbon emissions and localized air pollution under a voluntary civic engagement program whereby citizens are rewarded for reduced driving.

 

The Challenge

The City of Seoul boasts a highly effective public transport system. Even so, the city still struggles with very high levels of localized air pollution and CO2 emissions caused in part by the increasing number of private vehicles.

 

The Solution

A voluntary program in the city of Seoul, South Korea, rewards citizens who reduce their driving compared to kilometers driven the year before. Incentives are given in the form of points, which can be used to pay for local taxes, purchase mobile gift cards, or donate to a local fund that fights energy poverty by installing energy-saving units like LED lights and mini solar panels. The city expects to pay out $1.36 million annually in program incentives. A two-year trial period resulted in doubling the carbon emission reductions compared to Seoul's Voluntary No-driving Days program. The Eco-driving mileage program, launched in April 2017, aims to enlist 50,000 members each year and maintain 250,000 members after 2022. This program directly engages citizens in the city's efforts to tackle climate change. Members of the program are expected to build better driving habits and acquire better understanding of climate change.

 

Environmental Benefits – By inducing less driving, the program will improve Seoul's air quality by reducing both fine particle pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Social Benefits – The program was designed with the knowledge that in order for it to be successful, a meaningful number of people would have to willingly accept daily inconveniences, which is why participating citizens are rewarded as environmental problem-solvers.

Health Benefits – The program is designed to cut vehicle driving, which will improve public health, as transportation is responsible for 37% of air pollution in Seoul.

 

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 2017 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in five sectors: Energy, Waste, Adaptation, Mitigation and Transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. You can access the full Cities100 2017 publication online here.