Government planning for transport infrastructure projects is based on
sustainable development principles. It strives for the best possible integration of land
use, transport and environmental planning. It is also the Government's policy to
accord priority to railways as the backbone of the passenger transport system. Five
new railway lines or extensions of existing lines were opened between 2002 and
2005, with another two to be opened in the next two years.
Less reliance on road-based transport will alleviate the pressure on transport
systems and, in turn, lessen the impact on the environment. At the same time, the
rationalisation of bus routes and stops and the introduction of pedestrian schemes
will continue. These will help reduce the impact of vehicle emissions and noise
Since late 1998, about 4 200 daily bus trips have been eliminated from the busy
corridors on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island through service cancellation,
frequency reduction, route truncation and amalgamation. In Nathan Road in
Kowloon, about 1 100 daily bus trips have been eliminated since August 2002,
enhancing the efficiency of bus operations. Bus stops have also been rationalised to
reduce the number of stops on busy corridors.
The environmental impact of new transport projects, during both the
construction and operation phases, is also carefully monitored. Environmental
mitigation measures are implemented where necessary to minimise the environmental
impact of transport projects. These include landscaping, artificial contouring of
surrounding hillsides, depressed roads, laying of noise-reducing road surfacing and
the installation of noise barriers or other forms of noise insulation.
Improving pedestrian environment is one of the ways to enhance the quality of
life. To date, pedestrian schemes have been introduced in a number of streets in
Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, North Point, the Peak, Stanley, Tsim Sha Tsui,
Jordan, Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po, Yuen Long and Sheung Shui. These schemes have
been well received by the public and will continue in future. Detailed studies are
being conducted for improvements to pedestrian environment, urban design,
streetscape and landscape in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok. Franchised bus companies
have been purchasing buses with environmentally friendly engines that meet the
European emission standards (known as 'Euro engines') since 1993. About 87 per
cent of the franchised buses are equipped with Euro engines while the remaining
buses are all retrofitted with catalytic converters. To improve the environment, the
franchised bus companies have been deploying only Euro II or above engine buses to
operate routes along Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay, the busiest shopping area on
Hong Kong Island. The Government is working with the companies to deploy cleaner
vehicles along other specified busy corridors.
The franchised bus companies and the Government have also been working to
improve the overall quality of public transport interchanges to make them more user-friendly
for passengers. Electronic route information panels and customer service
centres have been installed at some interchanges. The Government has also
implemented a number of improvement works, including upgrading the physical
appearance of some interchanges and improving their ventilation systems.
Since August 2001, all newly registered taxis must run on LPG to meet tighter
emission standards to minimise air pollution. Incentive schemes to encourage the
early replacement of diesel light buses by LPG or electricity-driven vehicles were
introduced in August 2002. Almost 100 per cent of taxis and 55 per cent of PLBs
have converted to LPG.