Authors: Hyelim Kim
Facing a rise in crime and emergency situations, the Korean city of Daejeon collaborated with the national government to implement a “smart city” solution that enabled real-time information-sharing in criminal investigations and emergency response.
Daejeon, the fifth-most populous city in the Republic of Korea, was the first Korean city to integrate local information and communications technology infrastructure such as municipal networks and closed-circuit televisions. Integrating municipal technology infrastructure and reorganizing related agencies presented inter-agency coordination challenges. In particular, Daejeon needed to overcome institutional barriers to enable real-time data sharing for its smart emergency response system.
In 2013, Daejeon opened the Smart City Operation Center, which connected 10 departments with related responsibilities from different public agencies. In 2014, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) selected Daejeon to pilot the research and development of smart city emergency response systems, using the operations center. Together, MOLIT and Daejeon city officials integrated information systems and introduced a holistic smart emergency response system. The national government provided technical, financial, and institutional support to fill gaps in the local government’s authority and capacity. Daejeon became the first municipality in Korea to connect to the national police information network.
Over the next few years, Daejeon and MOLIT developed a smart emergency response system that became a national model. Integrated communications systems decreased the average emergency response time in Daejeon from about seven and a half minutes to less than six minutes. Crime in the city decreased by 5% and the arrest rate increased by 7.7%.
Daejeon’s development of a smart emergency response system holds lessons for cities worldwide about collaborating between local and national government bodies, approaching public service challenges holistically, building integrated and sustainable smart city projects, raising awareness through public education, and prioritizing universal service delivery to win public trust.