Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ18: Parking facilities

     Following is a question by the Hon Frankie Yick and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (January 6):

     In reply to my question raised on June 24 last year regarding parking facilities, the Government admitted that while the overall number of parking spaces in the territory could meet the demand, there were problems of mismatch of supply and demand in certain districts (I have learnt that the shortage of parking spaces is particularly acute in business districts and the vicinity of popular tourist hotspots).  The Government also indicated that, by providing motorists with real-time information on vacant parking spaces in car parks, the instances of motorists driving their vehicles in circles on roads in search of parking spaces, which cause traffic congestion, could be reduced. Besides, the Government has planned to commence a review of parking policy in a timely manner. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that motorists driving their vehicles in circles on roads in search of parking spaces will aggravate the problems of traffic congestion and air pollution, thereby causing economic losses (including loss of productivity and medical expenses), whether the authorities will conduct a study on the financial viability of providing a real-time parking space information system and include, in the scope of the study, the extent to which economic losses can be reduced by such a system; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) whether it will adopt specific measures (such as providing financial incentives) to encourage operators of commercial public car parks to disseminate real-time information on vacant parking spaces to the public via smartphone applications or the Government's information platforms, with a view to preventing aggravation of traffic congestion caused by motorists driving their vehicles in circles on roads in search of parking spaces; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) given that the authorities have indicated that they would consider requesting newly-built commercial public car parks to provide real time information on vacant parking spaces, of the details of the relevant arrangements; and

(4) when the authorities plan to commence the review of parking policy?



     My consolidated reply to the Hon Frankie Yick's questions is as follows.

     We have earlier reported to the Panel on Transport of the Legislative Council that the Government agrees in principle with and plans to take forward in phases the recommendations made by the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) for alleviating road traffic congestion, which include exploring how to disseminate real-time information on car parking vacancies to the public so that motorists need not circulate on roads looking for available parking spaces and generating additional load to traffic in turn. According to the Transport Department (TD)'s preliminary assessments, if the necessary information is available and in order, only slight adjustments to its existing traffic information system is needed such that real-time information on parking vacancies can be disseminated to the public through websites and mobile applications. The implementation of this arrangement will probably not require a huge amount of resources.  

     Nevertheless, currently most of the car parks are owned by private commercial organisations. The hourly parking spaces provided by the car parks under the TD and the Housing Department only account for about three per cent of the total number of hourly parking spaces in Hong Kong. As such, obtaining the information on parking vacancies from the relevant private commercial organisations is essential to whether such information can be disseminated real-time. In this regard, the TD has contacted operators of commercial public car parks, encouraging them to make better use of information technology, including the use of mobile applications to disseminate real-time information on parking vacancies of their car parks on one hand, and on the other hand encouraging them to upload the parking vacancies data to the Government's "Data.Gov.HK" website so that the TD and other organisations intending to develop relevant services can download the relevant data to various websites and mobile applications designed for use by motorists. This will allow one-stop dissemination of real-time information on parking vacancies of the car parks to facilitate motorists. At present, the TD has received positive initial feedback from some car park operators, expressing their willingness or considering to provide such data to the "Data.Gov.HK" website. The TD expects that the adjustments to its traffic information system can be completed within this year. By then, the real-time parking vacancies data in "Data.Gov.HK" can be uploaded to the system for dissemination to the public through websites and mobile applications.

     The TD will continue to encourage car park operators to provide and disseminate their car park information. The Government will also consider other feasible options, such as including appropriate conditions in new commercial public car park developments in future requiring the operators to provide real-time information on parking vacancies.

     As regards the recommendation of the TAC on conducting a review on parking policy, the Transport and Housing Bureau and the TD are preparing to commence the review in the 2016-17 financial year, but will accord priority to considering and meeting the parking need of commercial vehicles, and exploring improvement measures depending on the review results, including updating the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines. We must point out that given that the scarce land resources in Hong Kong, if there is an on-going growth of private cars, the Government cannot meet the growth by providing parking spaces continuously.  This will also indirectly encourage the public to buy private cars hence aggravate road traffic congestion. The Government's policy is centred on public transport and encourages the public to avoid commuting by private cars as far as possible. Before buying cars, the public should first ensure that there are suitable parking spaces for parking their cars. When motorists take trips, they should also consider whether there are enough parking spaces at the destination. Otherwise, they should choose public transport or park their cars in the areas nearby and then switch to other modes of transport.

Ends/Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:43


Print this page