Out-Law News | 18 Sep 2014 | 4:35 pm | 1 min. read
Transport and housing secretary Anthony Cheung announced the expansion with the launch of the territory’s 2014 railway development strategy (RDS) (77-page / 24.2 MB PDF). The proposals are based on the findings of consultations held between March 2011 and January 2014.
The proposed projects would increase the length of the rail network to more than 300 kilometres by 2031. The number of stations would increase to 114.
According to the RDS, the investment in the expanded railway network “would bring direct economic benefits” to the territory of up to HKD 4bn ($516 million) annually by 2031, “mainly in terms of savings in travelling time”, if all the proposed projects are realised.
The existing total length of Hong Kong’s railways is about 218 kilometres, with 84 railway stations and 68 light rail stops. Five railway projects are already under way and scheduled to be commissioned between the end of 2014 and 2021.
According to the RDS, Hong Kong’s railway network carries more than 4.5 million passengers per day, accounting for about 40% of all passenger trips by public transport and about 60% of trips by land between Hong Kong and mainland China.
The development of rail transport will “significantly speed up passenger flow”, reduce reliance on road transport and the need to build new roads and ease road congestion and reduce pollution from vehicles, the RDS said.
“The development potential of areas along the railway lines will also be unleashed to facilitate housing and economic developments,” the RDS said. “With these new lines, areas inhabited by more than 70% of the population in Hong Kong will be brought into the railway catchment areas.”
All of the proposals will be subject to detailed engineering, environmental and financial studies, in addition to updated assessments of passenger transport demand and the availability of resources, the RDS said.
Before any of the individual rail projects are completed, the government will assess their impact on other public transport systems and “devise service rationalisation proposals to achieve better coordination”, the RDS said. Further public consultation will be held before any of the potential projects are finalised.
The RDS said: “Hong Kong needs comprehensive and long-term planning for public transport, as it is pertinent to people's livelihood, economic development and protection of the environment. Our overall aim is to develop an affordable, accessible, efficient and environmentally friendly public transport system providing diverse choices for the travelling public.”