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LCQ16: Roundabouts

     Following is a question by Dr the Hon Elizabeth Quat and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (December 9):


     It has been reported that the Transport Department (TD) has implemented since 2004 a trial scheme (trial scheme) to replace roundabouts with circular road markings (conventional roundabouts) by roundabouts with spiral road markings (spiral roundabouts), and the traffic signs at roundabouts have also been adjusted accordingly.  The rules of using the two types of roundabouts are different.  According to the preliminary trial results, spiral roundabouts have a relatively lower accident rate and higher traffic capacity.  However, only seven spiral roundabouts have been provided in Hong Kong at present, representing a mere 3 per cent of the total number of roundabouts across the territory.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the following details of the seven existing spiral roundabouts: (i) the date on which the roundabout concerned was converted into the current type, (ii) the respective average annual numbers of traffic accidents occurred in the two years before the conversion and thereafter, and (iii) the cost of the relevant conversion (set out in the table attached);

(2) of the respective numbers of traffic accidents which occurred at the various roundabouts in Hong Kong in the past 10 years, together with a breakdown by District Council district; how many roundabouts have been listed as traffic accident black spots;

(3) given that the rules of using conventional roundabouts and spiral roundabouts are different, whether TD will step up its efforts in publicising to drivers the rules, with a view to reducing traffic accidents; if TD will, of the details, if not, the reasons for that;

(4) whether TD has set the rules of using spiral roundabouts as the compulsory content of the driving tests (including written and road tests); if TD has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(5) given that TD is still collecting the relevant data even though the trial scheme has been implemented for nearly 12 years, whether TD will review its work efficiency and expeditiously publish the data concerning the traffic accidents which occurred at the two types of roundabouts; if TD will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(6) given that while the authorities indicated to the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) in 2012 that they would provide six spiral roundabouts in Tseung Kwan O, only three of them have been provided so far, whether TD has decided to suspend the provision of the remaining three spiral roundabouts; if so, of the reasons for that, and whether it is related to the accident rate of the spiral roundabouts already provided; if the provision of the roundabouts is not suspended, the timetable for providing the remaining three spiral roundabouts;

(7) as it has been reported that TD will adopt a gradual and orderly approach to first implement the trial scheme at roundabouts with low traffic volume and subsequently extend the scheme to roundabouts with high traffic volume, whether TD will publish the criteria adopted for determining if the traffic volume of a roundabout is "low" or "high"; if TD will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(8) whether TD will consider converting all of the roundabouts into spiral roundabouts; if TD will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     My consolidated reply to the various parts of the question raised by Dr the Hon Elizabeth Quat is as follows:

     The Transport Department (TD) initiated a trial scheme on spiral roundabouts after consulting the Road Safety Research Committee (RSRC) of the Road Safety Council in 2004.  Spiral roundabouts can, through painting appropriate traffic lane markings, let drivers travelling along the outer lane of roundabouts have a clearer understanding that they must give way to vehicles leaving roundabouts from the inner lane.  Pictures of conventional and spiral roundabouts are at Annex 1.

     Since it is uncertain whether motorists could adapt to the road marking system of spiral roundabouts, the TD after thorough consideration, decides to carry out the trial in a gradual and orderly manner.  The TD identified four two-lane roundabouts with relatively low traffic flow, namely Yau Tong (Lei Yue Mun Road/Ko Chiu Road), Tseung Kwan O (Po Ning Road/Chiu Shun Road/Hang Hau Road), Tuen Mun (Lam Tei Interchange) and Chai Wan (Chai Wan Road/Wan Tsui Road), for the first-stage trial conducted from 2004 and 2008.  The TD, in collaboration with academics from local universities, collected and analysed the data derived from the first-stage trial to evaluate its effectiveness.  As the data includes the information on how motorists use the roundabouts as well as the record of traffic accidents spanning two years before and after conversion of the roundabouts, a longer time is required for collecting and compiling the data.  According to the data and views collected, it has been found that the roundabouts with lower traffic flow after conversion into spiral roundabouts have operated smoothly and spiral roundabouts are well-received by motorists.

     With the assessment results, the TD further consulted the RSRC in 2009 and 2010 and secured its support to carry out the second-stage trial to extend the trial scheme to roundabouts with relatively high traffic flow (Note).  With a view to further testing the effectiveness, the RSRC recommended the Government to identify a district for trial on a district basis and choose a three-lane roundabout to test whether it could be converted into a spiral roundabout.

     The TD subsequently identified Tseung Kwan O for a district trial.  Four two-lane roundabouts with relatively high traffic flow (Wan Po Road/Chiu Shun Road, Po Ning Road/Ying Yip Road/Sheung Ning Road, Po Hong Road/Po Yap Road and Po Ning Road/Po Shun Road/Po Lam Road North) and two two-lane roundabouts with relatively low traffic flow (Po Shun Road/King Ling Road/Tong Ming Street and Po Ning Road/Chiu Shun Road/Hang Hau Road (the latter was the roundabout covered in the first-stage)) in Tseung Kwan O were converted into spiral roundabouts.  The TD also identified a three-lane roundabout at Hoi Fai Road in Tai Kok Tsui for trial.

     With the endorsement of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council and Sai Kung District Council in April 2010 and April 2012 respectively, the TD commenced the conversion works.  As most of the roundabouts of the second-stage trial scheme are with higher traffic flow, the conversion works were scheduled to tie in with the regular road maintenance works by the Highways Department as far as possible so as to avoid affecting the general traffic flow and shorten the duration required for temporary traffic diversion or road closure.  The conversion works of the roundabout at Hoi Fai Road in Tai Kok Tsui were completed in June 2011 while that of all the roundabouts in Tseung Kwan O will be completed in December 2015.

     The TD has commenced the collation and analysis of the data of the second-stage trial scheme for evaluating the effectiveness of the spiral roundabouts with higher traffic flow.  Preliminary results will be available in 2017.  Subject to satisfactory results, the TD will prepare plans for conversion of other conventional roundabouts into spiral ones.  Before completion of the assessment on the effectiveness of the trial scheme, the TD has no plan to convert all conventional roundabouts into spiral ones.  As spiral roundabouts are still under trial, in general, it will not be included in the written or road test of driving tests.  The TD will review the arrangement in due course.

     In respect of publicity and education, Chapter 5 of the Road Users' Code and the Tips on Driving Through Roundabouts in TD's website have set out the rules and advice for motorists to drive through roundabouts, including the ways for entering, circling and leaving roundabouts, the matters that motorists have to pay attention to, and the routes for driving at roundabouts.  Those rules and advice are also applicable to spiral roundabouts.  In addition, Issue 30 of Road Safety Bulletin: How Much You Know about Rules of Using Roundabouts explains in detail the ways for driving through conventional and spiral roundabouts.  Generally speaking, the proper way for driving through spiral roundabouts is to follow general driving rule, i.e. vehicles changing lanes should give way to vehicles travelling on the main lane.

     The number of traffic accidents at roundabouts in various districts in Hong Kong in the past 10 years is at Annex 2.  Out of them, three roundabouts are classified as traffic black spots, including the roundabouts at Che Kung Miu Road/Mei Tin Road/Hung Mui Kuk Road, Tsuen Tsing Interchange/Tsuen Wan Road and Tsuen Kam Interchange/Texaco Road North Roundabout.  As to the required information in respect of the seven roundabouts mentioned in the question, please see Annex 3.

Note: In general, if the "actual flow/design capacity ratio" of a roundabout during peak hours is nearly or has reached 100 per cent, it means that the traffic flow at that roundabout is relatively high.

Ends/Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 13:20


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