Too many vehicles running on the road is identified by commuters as the leading cause of traffic congestion, non-profit group Clean Air Network finds. The survey, receiving 305 responses, shows that majority of private car drivers and non-drivers are concerned about the imbalanced transport system, which caused roadside air pollution, and traffic congestion.

In order to alleviate traffic congestion and roadside pollution, almost half (45%) of both drivers and non-drivers support financial tools, such as introducing electronic road pricing, increase in first registration tax and increase in annual license fee, to control the growing demand for private cars. Surprisingly, the percentage of Drivers (36%) supporting electronic road pricing is even higher than that of non-drivers (25%). Overall, the respondents are supportive of policy options including managing numbers of cars running on road, provision of diversified public transport choices and facilitation of active travel (walking and cycling) to replace mechanized travel.

Clean Air Network conducted a questionnaire through street interviews and online collection from April to September in 2017. 322 responses were received, among which 305 were valid. The survey aims to interview the public on their experiences and opinions on the current road traffic condition, as well as a host of solutions that are being debated. 25% out of the respondents are drivers who own private cars individually or share with family members.

The survey results are categorized in the following three parts, naming 1) observation on the current road traffic conditions, views on traffic congestion and the appropriate solutions, 2) views on roadside pollution and the appropriate solutions and 3) the background information and travel patterns of respondents.

Survey Results

1) Observation on the current road traffic conditions, views on traffic congestion and the appropriate solutions

 

 

According to the result, over 70% of drivers (71%) and non-drivers (71%) agree that too many cars is the leading cause of traffic congestion. The majority of both drivers (64%) and non-drivers (79%) agree that private cars accelerate the congestion problem. Almost half of drivers (47%) and over 60% of non-drivers (64%) supports to curb the number of private cars.

 

The most common experience of the respondents on road in the past year is too many vehicles and worsening traffic congestion (54%), which outweighs the proportion of illegal parking (24%).

 

 

There are three main approaches to alleviating traffic congestion, naming 1) increased variety of public transport options to substitute for individualized travels, 2) the employment of financial tools to manage growing demand for private cars and 3) the employment of political tools to reduce number of cars.

According to the result, 44% of the respondents prefer financial tools to manage the demand for private cars, such as electronic road pricing (28%), increase in first registration tax (6%) and increase in annual license fee (10%).

 

 

Surprisingly, the percentage of Drivers (36%) supporting electronic road pricing is even higher than that of non-drivers (25%).

2) Views on roadside pollution and the appropriate solutions

 

 

 

The majority of drivers (81%) and non-drivers (79%) agree that the problem of roadside pollution are caused by vehicular emission. More than 60% of drivers (64%) and non-drivers (63%) agrees that limiting vehicles from entering urban areas is effective in improving roadside pollution, such as low emission zone based on the principle of ‘polluter-pay’ and electronic road pricing scheme.

3) The background information and travel patterns of respondents

 

 

 

The majority of drivers (81%) and non-drivers (79%) agree that the problem of roadside pollution are caused by vehicular emission. More than 60% of drivers (64%) and non-drivers (63%) agrees that limiting vehicles from entering urban areas is effective in improving roadside pollution, such as low emission zone based on the principle of ‘polluter-pay’ and electronic road pricing scheme.

It’s also worth noting that both drivers (8%) and non-drivers (12%) choose to walk to work on weekdays. These commuting on foot outdoors are the most affected by the alarming level of roadside pollution.

 

 

50% of respondents, who own private cars individually or share with family members, spends 10% of their individually income on owning and driving private cars. For those who spend over half to 60% of income on private cars are mainly retirees and students.

Discussion – Areas in Central and Admiralty as the pilot scheme for ‘last-mile’ traffic model

 

The result also shows that almost half of respondents (47%) are willing to adopt ‘active travel’, namely walk or cycle for 1-3 kilometers to substitute for mechanized travel. Breaking down the perceptions of drivers and non-drivers, 40% of the former (40%) and almost 50% of the latter (49%) support to walk or cycle for such a distance.

Learning that almost half of respondents (47%) support the ‘last-mile’ traffic model, CAN attempts to outline an area in Central and Admiralty with a radius of 1-3 km to prompt discussion on how the usage and parking number of vehicles can be smartly managed in the area, by setting up parking complex on the verge, removing the spatially dispersed public parking spaces and parking meters on roadside within the area. Based on respondent’s preferred walking distance, citizens can reach their destination on foot or by cycling, in order to improve the air quality and alleviate the jammed road traffic.

 

Commentary on Policy Address 2017

Clean Air Network welcomes the CE’s aspiration to make Hong Kong a livable city, however, we are disappointed to see public health is not emphasized in its framework under livable city.  As a crucial element of making a livable city, a desirable transport system entails health and efficiency. However, in reality, the problems currently lying in the transport system, which is dodged by the government in the policy address, is the pain shared by Hong Kong citizens – being exposed to high level of roadside pollution and the worsening traffic congestion accelerated by the uncontrollable growth of vehicles

CAN points out that the public transport fare subsidy is a good start to improve the public transport by alleviating citizens’ financial burden. But this is not enough. The root of the transport problem is the serious traffic congestion, prolonged commuting time and the resulted public health crisis posed by roadside pollution.

In summary, we believe the concept of Healthy Transport in crucial in making a livable city. Without a target, there won’t be effective delivery. CAN urges Chief Executive to set an air pollution reduction target for the Transport and Housing Bureau to deliver, and hold the bureau accountable for managing the growth of vehicles and improving traffic congestion. The survey results show that both drivers and non-drivers recognize the urgency and seriousness of the problem, and express support to variable solutions such as pedestrian and bicycle-friendly policies, limiting vehicles from entering urban areas as well as electronic road pricing scheme.

The survey is completed with the support of The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited.

Story posted on
17th Oct, 2017

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