Transport System Management (TSM)

Case Study

Transport System Management (TSM)

A majority of large cities that simultaneously experienced both physical and economic growth in the late 20th century are now experiencing a rapid increase in the use of motor vehicles and, as a result, have faced with the problem of urban traffic congestion. One traditional method of resolving this problem is to increase new traffic facilities, such as roads. This method of continually constructing roads between the 1960s and the 1970s with various extensions was often seen as the answer – particularly in the USA. However, most countries cannot depend on the construction of new roads due to the financial restrictions needed for road construction or the limits of usable land. The so-called ‘TSM method’ has a also been rather diversely used to increase the efficiency and accommodating skills as a means of resolving traffic congestions in large cities by improving the existing transport system - based on the principle that the extension of roads itself causes more traffic demands. Furthermore, the city of Seoul has also gradually been conducting TSM since 1980. Recently, the approach of TSM has become more systematic and integrated based on ITS through Seoul TOPIS. The main components of Seoul TOPIS, i.e., Advanced Traffic Management System/Traffic Signal Operation System, Freeway Traffic Management System, Bus Information System/Bus Management System, and Unmanned Regulation System/Automatic Penalty Charging System all follow the principles of TSM. That is, there is a clear objective of resolving traffic issues through the optimization of the efficiency of existing facilities, and not the construction of additional traffic facilities.

Case study city(ies)
Case study country(ies)

The intended goal through the improvement of the road traffic facility system is the efficient use of the road. The TSM project initiated in Korea, including Seoul, aims to resolve traffic congestion by improving unreasonable traffic facilities by targeting regions that suffer particularly severe traffic congestion.

For the relief of traffic congestion, there are multi-angled forms of TSM methods, including the improvement of bottleneck and intersection regions, efficiency of traffic operations, signal management, demand management, and ITS, wherein the specific goal is to enhance the driving speed by effectively combining these methods.


Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG)


The number of registered motor vehicles in Korea between 1980 and 1990, meanwhile, had increased by eight-fold from 249,000 to 2,075,000, wherein the width of the roads was merely increased by 12.5% from 47,000 km to 56,700 km. The government initiated road construction projects to resolve the imbalance of such demand and supply, while also introducing a policy of using private capital in the extension of information facilities, including roads, by enacting the Private Capital Attraction Promotion Act related to indirect social capital facilities in 1994.

However, in the 1990s, the traffic policy professionals and decision makers shared an awareness that there were restrictions in the method of approach concerning facility supply, such as the extension of traffic systems or road construction, and sought new traffic problem resolution means beyond the more traditional and dated traffic policies.

Solutions deployed

Transport Management System (TSM)

Smart Solution(s) deployed by the case
Results and Impacts

The effect of improving traffic congestion based on the traffic operation technique was verified by the signal improvement project (traffic flow increased by 17%) to relieve the congestion in the Ansan Banwol Industrial Complex route.  A study reportedly demonstrates that the transportation improvement program aiming to build synchronized system had increased traffic speed to the entrance ramp from 36.6 km to 42.9 km by changing signal order at the Doil intersection, optimizing the signal timing at Ansan Intersection, and minimizing the vehicles’ waiting queue on the road.

(Banwol Shinmun 2011).

The transport system improvement projects conducted by Seoul city in the habitual congestion regions also displayed noticeably reduced congestion and improved the overall traffic flow.


1) Yongbi Bridge Extension Construction (Yongbi Bridge-Haengdang Road Construction)

An effective flow between the regions was achieved by resolving the bottleneck effect in the northern end of Seongsu Bridge, a region of habitual congestion, and the traffic flow was thereby enhanced by 29% from 22.7 km/h to 29.3 km/h.

2) The effect of improved traffic flow from the Bukbu Expressway Muk-dong route and the Dongbu Expressway Seongsu route

Seoul city analyzed the change in traffic flow and volume at different times for two weeks before and after construction and, from this, calculated the socioeconomic profit based thereon.

The morning traffic flow toward the Hwarang University intersection increased by 71.1% 32.5km/h → 55.6km/h, 23.1km/h) by the Bukbu Arterial Road Muk-dong route construction and the traffic flow toward Yongbi Bridge increased by 29.1% (22.7km/h → 29.3km/h, 6.6km/h) by the Dongbu Arterial Roadto Seongsu route.

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