Afternoon traffic on Hong Kong Island in 2019 was slower than the top nine Hong Kong marathon runners that year, clocking up an average of just 18.9 kph, according to government figures divulged in LegCo.
The government says 2019 traffic averaged just 29.7 kph across the whole city: 28.6 kph in the morning and 30.8 kph in the afternoon. The New Territories saw the fastest moving traffic, averaging 38.3 kph in the morning and a heady 46.1 kph in the afternoon, just shy of the urban road speed limit of 50 kph.
In 2019, Kenyan Tuwei Dickson Kiptum won the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in a time of 2 hours 9 minutes and 20 seconds, an average speed of 19.6 kph and making him 0.7 kph faster than Hong Kong Island afternoon traffic over the 42.2 km distance. Eight others behind Kiptum also beat the traffic speed.
The traffic figures were released in response to a question from lawmaker Chan Han-pan, who raised the issue of congestion and asked of the Government’s new measures to address the situation.
“Given that there are only limited land and road space in Hong Kong, in order to reduce road-based traffic, the Government will continue to develop a transportation system which is central upon public transport with railway as the backbone,” said Hong Kong’s Secretary for Transport and Housing, Frank Chan Fan in a LegCo meeting yesterday.
“We will continue to pursue improvement to transport infrastructure, including development of major roads and railway network, enhancement of road infrastructure under various highway and development projects, and facilitation of non-vehicular means of commuting by, for instance, constructing hillside escalator links and elevator systems as well as improving pedestrian facilities, existing cycling tracks and bicycle parking facilities.”
Chan said the government is planning for various “major road projects to address the traffic needs in the longer term”, including the Fanling Bypass, Trunk Road T4 in Sha Tin, Route 11 (between North Lantau and Yuen Long) and the Tsing Yi-Lantau Link.
The total length of roads in Hong Kong increased only 4% between 2009 and 2019, while the number of vehicles increased 36% in the same period.