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Seoul unveils virus-blocking bus shelter

A smart bus shelter installed in front of the building of the Seongdong-gu District Office in Seoul. (The Seongdong-gu District Office)
A smart bus shelter installed in front of the building of the Seongdong-gu District Office in Seoul. (The Seongdong-gu District Office)

A shelter booth designed to protect passengers from sunlight, dust and even from viruses while waiting for a bus to arrive was unveiled on the streets of Seoul. 

Starting Wednesday, the Seongdong-gu District Office runs smart bus shelters at its 10 busiest bus stations in the district to improve the public transit experience in and around the bus stop. 

The district is the first to introduce a bus shelter equipped with ultraviolet light air sterilizers for preventing transmission of airborne viruses. The air sterilizer breaks up 96 percent to 99 percent of virus particles, according to Song Jun-myoung, a chief of policy managing division at the office who managed the project. 

An intelligent surveillance camera shows when buses are approaching to the station through a digital screen installed inside. Passengers can charge their phones and access free Wi-Fi. 

An automatic screen door blocks people with a high fever from entering the booth after checking their body temperature with a thermal imaging camera. A digital signage screen installed inside the shelter provides information on bus and subway services. An uninterruptible power supply system enables the booth to run with emergency backup power from a solar panel on its roof when the input power source fails. 

“I think offering what citizens want where they can easily access it, like bus stations, is a true realization of welfare in a smart environment,” District Mayor Chong Won-o said. 

One of its unique feature is an internet of things control and management system that allows district officials to remotely control the temperature and lights and to display content without leaving their office. 

The office hopes to build 10 more shelters in the latter half of the year. One booth costs about 100 million won ($84,000).

If occurrence of crimes or fire is detected through its artificial intelligence system, like sound sensors in the booth, the district office immediately shares the information on emergency situations with police and fire authorities. 

The high-tech bus shelter project is supported by LG Electronics in design and technology.

It was also selected as one of projects funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, which launched a “Smart City Challenge” competition to encourage municipalities to materialize their public service ideas. 



By Park Han-na(hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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