Following is the full text of the introductory speech delivered by the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Robert Footman, at the Intelligent Transport Systems 2000 Forum today (Wednesday):
Honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Kung Hey Fat Choy!
Better use of advanced technology, in transport management, is one of the five focuses of our new Transport Strategy in moving Hong Kong ahead. The challenge now for the Government and the community is to ensure that the same safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly transport system is not only maintained in the years ahead but also improved, through the applications of advanced technology.
In a paper presented to the ITS Technology Forum held in last October, I mentioned that we need to arouse the awareness of ITS in order to develop an ITS vision and strategy for Hong Kong. I proposed three "ice-breaking" measures, namely
* to organise regular ITS seminars in Hong Kong
* to formulate an ITS strategy for Hong Kong
* to facilitate the development of enabling technologies
It is my pleasure to organise this ITS forum at the beginning of the new millennium with delegations from various Government bureaux and departments, academic institutions, consultants and the private sector. This event marks a new era in public and private collaboration in ITS development in Hong Kong. This is not an one-off exercise and regular seminars on ITS will be held to facilitate the exchange and upkeep of information in the field. I am looking forward to your contribution in maintaining the momentum.
I am also looking forward to the formation of an ITS Hong Kong, an organisation similar to ITS America, ITS Canada and ITS Australia to
* promote the applications of ITS in Hong Kong;
* facilitate cooperative activities related to ITS in Hong Kong; and
* promote and facilitate development of local ITS industries
With a sharp focus on ITS deployment and ITS development, ITS Hong Kong can combine the strength of public and private partners from different sectors. Although it normally starts with private sector initiative, Transport Department will be ready to support such organisation.
We have made good progress on building the foundation stone for formulating an ITS strategy for Hong Kong last year. We have completed a study on the application of ITS on our Strategic Road Network (SRN). The study recommended, and we have decided, to provide advanced and comprehensive traffic control and surveillance equipment on all new SRN roads and when the opportunity arises, to retrofit such equipment on the existing SRN roads. We also plan to develop a state-of-the-art Traffic Management and Information Centre that will put traffic surveillance and management, incident management and provision of traveller information under one umbrella. It will also form a hub that enables seamless communication among different traffic control centres.
We are about to complete the Feasibility Study on Transport Information System (TIS) and the Feasibility Study on Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). In the following sessions, our consultants will brief you on preliminary findings of the TIS Study and the potential of applying ERP technologies in other ITS applications. Indeed, I am delighted to see that one of the technologies tested in the ERP Study, the vehicle positioning system, has been successfully applied by Citybus to develop their satellite Route 11 bus fleet management system. Mr. Dobie from Citybus will brief you on this later this morning.
All these studies will provide useful input to an ITS review which we plan to conduct later this year. The review will
* consolidate the technology findings of the various studies;
* review the current and potential development of ITS both in Hong Kong and overseas;
* conduct surveys and travellers demand analysis to identify suitable and viable ITS applications;
* conduct technical evaluation and cost-benefit analysis, accord priorities and formulate an implementation programme for the potential applications; and
* determine the requirements for technical standards, legislative amendments, funding sources, re-engineering processes and other institutional issues relating to collaboration between Government and the private sector.
Your contribution will be critical to the success of such review. We are still considering the most effective ways to seek your comments and suggestions. These may include informal meetings, workshops or questionaries.
Development of Enabling Technologies
The SRN Study, ERP Study and the TIS Study have looked into a wide range of technologies suitable for ITS applications. There are a number of Government bureaux and departments which are also developing similar technologies for their own use. For example, the Fire Services Department is evaluating various vehicle location systems in their feasibility study for the third generation mobilisation system. I understand that there are other Government departments looking for such systems for fleet management purposes.
The universities have played, and will continue to play, an important role in the research and development of new technologies. Therefore, we have invited representatives from the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to brief us on their researches related to ITS.
The technologies are changing rapidly and the pace of ITS development is advancing very quickly. The technology cycle is becoming shorter and shorter. We must continue our research and development if we don't want to be outdated. Technology development also flourishes under diverse channels and multi sources. This role will continue to be played by the industry, by the universities and by the Government.
There has been criticism that research in Hong Kong seldom results in products available for commercial uses. However, the situation has changed. You can see that nowadays there are more and more collaboration among the Government, the Universities and the private sector in transforming research ideas into commercial products. I hope that this type of forum can help to accelerate the process.
Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to invite support from the concerned government bureaux and departments in various aspects such as telecommunication, geographic information system and information technology which are essential for the successful implementation of ITS applications in Hong Kong.
In conclusion, it is my strong hope that this ITS 2000 Forum will generate more collaboration among different sectors to realise our theme for a safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly transport system, through the applications of ITS.
End/Wednesday, February 16, 2000