Section 8Concern over Environment
Concern over Environment
In 2019, the Transport Department continued to take active measures to ameliorate air quality. These measures include phasing in LPG and electric light buses, controlling the growth of the franchised bus fleet, enhancing bus operations in congested areas, introducing bus-bus and bus-rail interchange schemes and reducing vehicle emission. The Department also continued to implement pedestrian schemes and to promote “Walk in HK” initiatives to encourage people to walk more and had been conducting three consultancy studies with the aim of improving the walking environment.
LPG / Environment-friendly Taxis
In early 2000 the Government carried out legislative amendments not to allow diesel vehicles registered after 1 August 2001 to be used as taxis in Hong Kong. The Government also provided a one-off grant to encourage taxi owners to replace their diesel taxis with LPG ones. Since 2013, electric / hybrid vehicles also started to be used as taxis in Hong Kong. As at the end of 2019, there were 18,160 LPG taxis among the registered taxis in Hong Kong, representing over 99.98% of the whole fleet, and 762 of them were hybrid taxis.
LPG / Electric Light Bus
The Government launched incentive programmes in 2002, 2007 and 2010 respectively to encourage existing light bus owners to replace their old diesel vehicles with LPG, electric light buses or new diesel light buses of the latest Euro emission standard. In March 2014, the Government launched another ex-gratia payment scheme to phase out pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles including light buses. The eligible vehicle owners may apply for ex-gratia payment by the concerned deadlines. As at the end of 2019, there were 3,530 licensed LPG public light buses in Hong Kong.
Controlling the Growth of the Franchised Bus Fleet
To ensure efficient use of the existing franchised bus fleet, we are scrutinising the companies' five-year forward planning programmes very carefully. The Administration continues to liaise with the bus companies to re-organise and rationalise bus services, especially those services operating along busy corridors with low utilisation, to reduce bus trips in busy corridors by route cancellation, amalgamation, truncation and frequency adjustment, with a view to reducing air pollution, noise nuisance, traffic congestion and fuel consumption.
Bus Operations in Congested Areas
The Department pursues the reduction of bus trips along the busy corridors in Central, Causeway Bay and Yau Tsim Mong. Between 2010 and 2019, the cumulative reduction of the number of bus trips in the above busy corridors was 5,752. Taking Nathan Road as an example, an additional 87 bus trips per day were reduced in 2019.
Bus-bus and Bus-rail Interchange Schemes
To avoid the introduction of excessive direct bus services, help relieve congestion and minimise the environmental impact on busy corridors, the Administration encourages the bus companies to introduce more bus-bus and bus-rail interchange schemes and to offer the interchanging passengers with fare discounts. By the end of 2019, there were a total of 460 bus-bus interchange schemes.
Reducing Vehicle Emission
The Government has been implementing a series of measures to reduce vehicle emissions so as to better protect public health. Key measures include:
- to commence the trial programme of retrofitting Euro IV and V double-deck franchised buses of the dominant bus models with enhanced Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems so as to upgrade the vehicle emission standards to Euro VI level in 2020
- upgraded the vehicle emission requirements of Franchised Bus Low Emission Zones (FBLEZs) (the busy corridors in Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok) to Euro V to further improve the roadside air quality at busy corridors within the FBLEZs from 31 December 2019;
- launched an incentive-cum-regulatory scheme to progressively phase out some 82,000 pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles (DCV) by the end of 2019;
- completed retrofitting some 1,000 Euro II and Euro III diesel franchised buses with SCR devices by the end of 2017 to upgrade their emission performance to Euro IV or above level;
- tightened the statutory vehicle emission standards for newly registered vehicles to Euro VI in phases by vehicle classes from July 2017;
- strengthened the emission control for liquefied petroleum gas and petrol vehicles using remote sensing equipment since September 2014; and
- limited the service life of DCVs newly registered on or after 1 February 2014 to 15 years.
With the emission control measures on vehicles in recent years, roadside concentrations of key air pollutants have decreased by about 30% from 2013 to 2019.
The legislative amendment to tighten the in-use diesel vehicle emission standard from 60 Hartridge Smoke Units (HSU) to 50 HSU has been effective since 1 May 2008.
In order to improve the overall pedestrian environment, the Transport Department has implemented pedestrian schemes in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Wan Chai, Sham Shui Po, Jordan, Stanley, Sheung Shui and Yuen Long. As at the end of 2019, we have implemented seven Full-time Pedestrian Schemes, 27 Part-time Pedestrian Schemes and over 40 Traffic Calming Schemes. They include:
(1) Full-time Pedestrian Schemes:
Theatre Lane, Chiu Lung Street, Findlay Road, Russell Street, Paterson Street, Jardine's Crescent and Nanking Street.
(2) Part-time Pedestrian Schemes:
Lan Kwai Fong, D'Aguilar Street, Wo On Lane, Sai Yuen Lane, Tai Yuen Street, Chater Road, Ice House Street, Lockhart Road, East Point Road, Great George Street, Pak Sha Road, Lee Garden Road, Marble Road, Stanley Main Street, Stanley Market Road, Stanley New Street, Bowring Street, Temple Street, Yin Chong Street, Tung Choi Street, Apliu Street, Fuk Wa Street, Pei Ho Street, Kweilin Street, San Hong Street, San Kung Street and Yuen Long New Street.
(3) Traffic Calming Schemes:
Wyndham Street, Queen's Road Central, Elgin Street, Peel Street, Staunton Street, Jaffe Road, Johnston Road, Kai Chiu Road, Foo Ming Street, Lan Fong Road, Pak Sha Road, Yun Ping Road, Russell Street, Paterson Street, Great George Street, Lee Garden Road, Jardine’s Bazaar, Haiphong Road, Hankow Road, Canton Road, Peking Road, Lock Road, Ashley Road, Ichang Street, Minden Avenue, Nanking Street, Pilkem Street, Shanghai Street, Bowring Street, Saigon Street, Pak Hoi Street, Ning Po Street, Fa Yuen Street, Shantung Street, Fuk Wa Street, Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Soy Street, Nelson Street, Pei Ho Street, Nam Cheong Street, Yu Chau Street, Fuk Wing Street and Kweilin Street.
In order to encourage people to "walk more, ride less" to reduce the use of mechanised transport for short-distance commuting with a view to alleviating traffic congestion, improving air quality and making walking an integral part of Hong Kong as a sustainable city, the Transport Department continued to conduct three consultancy studies in 2019, namely "Consultancy Study on Enhancing Walkability in Hong Kong", "Review of Assessment Mechanism for Hillside Escalator Links and Elevator Systems (HEL) and Preliminary Feasibility Studies” and “Pedestrian Connectivity in Hong Kong Island North from Wan Chai to Sheung Wan – Feasibility Study", to improve the walking environment.
The "Consultancy Study on Enhancing Walkability in Hong Kong" aims to formulate planning and design standards putting priority on pedestrians and develop Hong Kong into a world-class walkable city. While the standards are being finalised, short-term measures, including decluttering of traffic signs and railings, have been implemented progressively since December 2019 in two pilot areas, namely Central and Sham Shui Po.
The "Review of Assessment Mechanism for Hillside Escalator Links and Elevator Systems and Preliminary Feasibility Studies" aims to review and improve the assessment mechanism, and on the basis of the revised mechanism, conduct assessment of 114 new proposals received in the past years, and carry out initial screening and detailed scoring for proposals that are within the scope of HEL so as to set priorities and decide on the first batch of HEL proposals for implementation.
The "Pedestrian Connectivity in Hong Kong Island North from Wan Chai to Sheung Wan – Feasibility Study" aims to enhance the current state of pedestrian connectivity from Wan Chai to Sheung Wan. The Study has formulated improvement measures on the east-west pedestrian corridor in Hong Kong Island North. The recommended short-term enhancement measures, including footpath widening works on Jaffe Road (the section between Percival Street and Canal Road West), have been implemented progressively since 2019.