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Seoul uses AI technology to reduce risk of overcrowding

Posted October. 25, 2023 09:02,   

Updated October. 25, 2023 09:02


One year after the Halloween crowd crush in Itaewon, the Seoul metropolitan government and districts use cutting-edge technology or deploying safety personnel to prepare for safety accidents.

The Seocho District Office has installed AI-based electronic signboards in two areas, 300 meters from Exit 10 of Gangnam Station to Sinnonhyeon Station, that display real-time congestion levels. “This area has a large floating population, averaging 160,000 people visiting daily,” said an official with Seocho District office.

The AI software analyzes the number of people per square meter measured in seconds and displays density. When the video captured by CCTV is transmitted to the Seocho Smart Hub Center, an AI-based congestion video analysis system is activated, automatically analyzing the situation. “Walking conditions favorable” is shown in green text when there are less than two people per square meter. If there are three to four people per square meter, ‘slightly crowded’ is displayed in orange. If there are more than five people, ‘very crowded’ appears in red.

Seocho district plans to prevent overcrowding by issuing warnings through speakers attached to CCTVs if the situation is at a ‘serious’ level. The system is automatically connected to the Seoul Emergency Operations Center, the police, and fire departments to ensure rapid response.

“The development of the system was launched in May this year and completed last month. Full-scale operations began this month,” said an official with the Seocho District Office. “We will be carrying out joint inspections and patrols from Oct. 27 to 31 in four high-density areas, including the area near Gangnam Station, to stay prepared for Halloween.”

The Mapo District Office will enforce more robust safety controls in the Hongdae area, where crowds are expected to gather during Halloween. “We expect 40,000 to 70,000 people to gather around Hongdae before and after Halloween. We will operate a special task force from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1 to conduct special safety management of crowds,” said an official with the Mapo District Office.

It was decided that Exit 8 of Hongdae Station will be used as an entrance and Exit 9 as an exit on Oct. 27 and 28, when it is expected to be most crowded. This is to prevent accidents by separating entrances/exits. A total of 2,850 people, including 600 Mapo district officials, 1,750 police officers, and 300 firefighters, will be deployed for five days from 7 p.m. on Oct. 27 to 3 a.m. on Nov. 1. The Seoul Metropolitan Government established a safety management plan focusing on 16 areas likely to be crowded during Halloween, including Myeong-dong, Hongdae Special Tourist Zone, Itaewon Special Tourist Zone, and Gangnam Station. Safety management personnel will be assigned to guide crowds in a single direction. If areas become overly crowded, subways will not stop at adjacent stations and roadways will be controlled.