Innovating Inter-Agency Collaboration for a Smart Emergency Response System: Daejeon Smart City Operation Center, 2010-2017
Facing a rise in crime and emergency situations, Daejeon—the fifth-most populous city of the Republic of Korea—collaborated with the national government to implement a “smart city” solution that enabled real-time sharing of information for criminal investigations and emergency responses. Reorganizing government agencies and integrating municipal technology infrastructure (such as closed-circuit televisions) presented significant coordination challenges. From when implementation began in 2008, Daejeon had to overcome multiple institutional barriers to enable real-time sharing of data.
In 2013, Daejeon finally opened its Smart City Operation Center, which brought 10 departments with related responsibilities together from different public agencies. A year later, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) selected Daejeon to pilot the research and development of a smart platform for emergency responses at a national level. Together, MOLIT and Daejeon city officials integrated information systems and introduced a holistic system of smart emergency responses. The national government provided technical, financial, and institutional support to fill gaps in the local government’s authority and capacity.
The smart emergency response system helped boost citizen safety in Daejeon. Integrated communications systems decreased the average emergency response time in Daejeon from about 7.5 minutes to less than 6.0 minutes. Crime in the city decreased by 5.0 percent, and the arrest rate increased by 7.7 percent. Daejeon became a national model, with dozens of other Korean cities implementing similar systems by 2021.
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