KOREA’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport (Molit) has signed a mutual cooperation agreement with local authorities to create a “one-hour living zone” for the cities of Busan and Ulsan in the southeast of the country, with development of suburban rail networks and the construction of a tram system in Ulsan forming part of the concept.

A one-hour living zone is a connection between a group of cities using cross-boundary infrastructure that helps to ensure that every destination in the ecosystem is accessible within an hour’s commute, helping to create an ideal network for living, working and travelling.

The mutual cooperation agreement was signed on December 19 2022 and Molit and the local authorities agreed to work together on the development of a two-line tram network in Ulsan, which is currently one of the largest cities in South Korea without an urban rail network. Under the proposal, an 11.6km east-west Line 1 would link Taehwagang main line station with Sinbok, while a 13.7km north-south Line 2 would connect Bukulsan with Yaeum via Ulsan’s city airport.

Ulsan is currently one of the largest cities in Korea without an urban rail network. Photo credit: Xptmxm101/Wikipedia Commons

The signing in Busan was attended by minister of land, transport and maritime affairs, Mr Won Hee-ryong, the mayor of Busan, Mr Park Hyung-joon, the mayor of Ulsan, Mr Kim Doo-gyeom, and the governor of South Gyeongsang province, Mr Park Wan-soo.

In other related developments, a preliminary feasibility study - due to be completed by the end of 2023 - is underway into a planned Southeast Circular Suburban Railway linking the Ulsan Korea Train eXpress (KTX) high-speed line station with Yinyeong on the Daegu - Jinju main line.

A similar study is due to be carried out into the possibility of another suburban line being built, again starting from Ulsan KTX station but in this case running to Nopo station in Busan via central Ulsan.

Both of these proposed lines would also run via Yangsan.

In July 2021, residents of Busan selected a design for battery LRVs for use on the city’s planned 5.15km Oryukdo Line, said to be Korea’s first light rail project since the country’s final legacy tram line closed in 1968.

For more data on light rail and commuter line projects around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro.