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LCQ22: Providing motorists with traffic information

     Following is a question by the Hon Wu Chi-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (July 8):


     In recent years, the Government has introduced the Journey Time Indication System (JTIS) and Speed Map Panels (SMPs) to provide road traffic information to motorists. At present, JTIS is installed along the major routes leading to the three road harbour crossings (RHCs) on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon, and SMPs are installed along the trunk roads in the New Territories heading for Kowloon. I have recently proposed to the Transport Department that the two systems be installed in East Kowloon to enable motorists using the New Clear Water Bay Road to choose different driving routes, so as to alleviate the traffic congestion at the Choi Hung Road Interchange and even in the entire East Kowloon. The Transport Department, however, responded that due to cost-effectiveness considerations, it would install journey time indicators only along the busy roads leading to RHCs for the time being. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has assessed the project cost and annual additional recurrent expenditure involved in installing the aforesaid two systems in East Kowloon; if it has, of the details;

(2) given that the information provided by the authorities in reply to my question in May 2013 indicated that, in 2010 and 2011, the traffic flow on Kwun Tong Bypass and Lung Cheung Road during rush hours was similar to that on the trunk roads leading to the Cross Harbour Tunnel, whether the authorities will review the decision of installing journey time indicators only along the roads leading to RHCs, and reconsider installing JTIS in East Kowloon; if they will not, of the other measures to alleviate the traffic congestion in East Kowloon;

(3) whether it currently has any plan to expand the two systems to other roads, such as installing SMPs along the trunk roads not leading to RHCs; and

(4) apart from the two systems and other relevant existing technological applications, whether the Government has considered introducing technologies which are aimed at providing road traffic information to motorists; if it has, of the details?



     My reply to the various parts of the Hon Wu Chi-wai's question is as follows.

(1) and (3) The Journey Time Indication System (JTIS) is currently installed at critical diversion points of cross harbour routes to display the estimated journey time required for using the three road harbour crossings (RHCs). Such information allows motorists to choose the appropriate driving route before the diversion points, depending on the actual traffic situation of the RHCs. Currently, the JTIS has already been installed at all diversion points of the strategic cross harbour routes on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon. Motorists in East Kowloon can obtain the information on estimated journey time to Hong Kong Island via Eastern Harbour Crossing and Cross Harbour Tunnel through the journey time indicator installed at Kai Fuk Road (Kai Tak Tunnel-bound). Thus, the Transport Department (TD) has no plan to install more journey time indicators in East Kowloon.

     In addition, JTIS information is being disseminated through mobile phone applications. The TD currently has no plan to extend the JTIS to other cross harbour routes.

     As for the Speed Map Panel (SMP), it provides motorists with real-time traffic condition of the relevant routes in addition to displaying the estimated journey time. At present, five sets of SMPs are installed at diversion points of strategic routes towards Kowloon in the New Territories. The TD is considering whether to further install SMPs at diversion points of other strategic routes. Since the study is still underway, there is no specific information including construction cost and annual additional recurrent expenditure involved in the system expansion.

(2) We have already replied above the question concerning the installation of journey time indicators and SMPs. The Government has been closely monitoring the traffic conditions of East Kowloon, and is planning to take forward the Route 6, which comprises the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel, Trunk Road T2 and Central Kowloon Route. Upon the completion and commissioning of Route 6, the traffic situation of the major roads parallel with Route 6, including Lung Cheung Road, New Clear Water Bay Road, Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong Bypass, Tseung Kwan O Road, and the section of Lei Yue Mun Road leading to Eastern Harbour Crossing, will improve significantly. As for the town centre of Kwun Tong, upon the completion of the redevelopment project, most bus and minibus stops in the town centre will be relocated to the public transport interchange at Development Areas 2 and 3 of the project. Moreover, to facilitate vehicles travelling to and from the public transport interchange, the Urban Renewal Authority will widen a road section from Hip Wo Street leading to the public transport interchange within the area of the Redevelopment project so as to relieve the road traffic in the vicinity. The Government will also continue to implement area-based traffic improvement works and management measures to mitigate the traffic conditions of individual areas in East Kowloon.

     On September last year, the Government announced the Railway Development Strategy 2014 recommending seven new railway projects to be completed in the planning horizon up to 2031. One of the recommended projects is the East Kowloon Line. The new line will connect the Diamond Hill Station of the Kwun Tong Line (and the future Shatin to Central Link) and the Po Lam Station of the Tseung Kwan O Line, serving the densely populated areas in East Kowloon as well as the committed major housing development projects in the area. The commissioning of the East Kowloon Line will not only reduce residents' reliance on road-based transport, but also divert traffic flows from the road network so that vehicular bottlenecks will less likely appear. This will help to enhance the overall transport capacity of East Kowloon.

(4) The Government has been actively using the latest technology to provide motorists with traffic information. Apart from the JTIS and SMPs, the public can obtain real-time traffic information through the TD's website, including traffic snapshot images, cross-harbour journey time, traffic speed map, and special traffic news. In addition, the HK eRouting website and mobile phone application provide the public with driving route search services. The TD is also developing a Traffic and Incident Management System to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness in managing traffic and transport incidents, and in disseminating relevant information to the public. The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

Ends/Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:30


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