The high economic growth has begun in the early 1960s with the introduction of the FYEDP and it has continued for about 30 years until the late 1980s. As a result, the number of vehicles has rapidly increased since the mid-1980s when the per capita GDP reached about USD 2,500. The number of vehicle was merely 528 thousand in 1980, however, it increased to 1,115 thousand in 1985 and high-rocketed to 3,395 thousand in 1990. Since then, it increased 1 million every year in the 1990s so that it reached 12,059 thousand in 2000. The number of private car has conspicuously increased among other vehicles.
In the 1980s, general un-tolled roads such as national, local, metropolitan, and city-district roads have been largely rehabilitated through asphalt pavement and expanding number of lanes. On the other hand, new expressways have not been much constructed. In the 1980s, only 326km of new expressways was constructed, which was about less than half of 674km in the 1970s. So the road supply could not have matched the road demand. As a result, the road congestion has been worsening in the late 1980s and the early 1990s in all types of roads. So the government decided to largely expand the road supply in the early 1990s. Since the efficiency of expressways is much higher than that of other road types in terms of the vehicle capacity per investment cost, the government decided to put more emphasis on the construction of new expressways.
|Per capita GDP (USD)|
No. of vehicle (thousand)
|By central government|
[Expressways opened in the 1990s and afterwards]
The length of expressways in 2015 is 4,193km, which has expanded so rapidly during the last 50 years. In terms of the network length, Korea has the 7th longest expressway in the world. US, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, and China have the expressway network longer than Korea. In terms of per capita network length, Korea has the 5th longest expressway, if the Benelux countries with small land areas are excluded. Even in terms of per vehicle network length, Korea has the 6th longest expressway, if the Benelux countries are also excluded. Particularly in terms of per km2 land network length, Korea has the highest expressway as 41.3km/km2, apart from the Benelux countries. ##MORE_LAYER_BOX##
|Length (km)||Per capita length|
|Per vehicle length|
|Per land length|
As the expressway network length has continuously increased, some advanced operation systems have also been introduced. The Integrated Transport Systems (ITS) have been integrated into the expressways starting in 1993, focusing primarily on Traffic Management System (TMS) and the Electronic Toll Collection System (ETCS). Some supplementary systems have been installed for ITS implementation, such as super-high optical communications network throughout the whole network, 2,155 vehicle detectors, 1,791 CCTVs, and 141 Variable Message Signs (VMS) as of August 2016. The ETCS has been tested in 1993 and installed since 1994. As of August 2016, it is operated in 1,266 lanes of 335 toll-gates as of August 2016. The congestion in expressways has been serious around the large metropolitan area, particularly in the Seoul metropolitan area. So the bus only lane has been introduced in some sections of the Seoul-Busan expressway since 1995. In weekdays, it has been operated in 44.8km of Seoul and Osan section between 07:00 and 21:00. ##MORE_LAYER_BOX##
[Bus only lane]