Evaluation of Hong Kong electronic road pricing policy with reference to Singapore's model and the feasibility of its implementation in Hong Kong

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Evaluation of Hong Kong electronic road pricing policy with reference to Singapore's model and the feasibility of its implementation in Hong Kong


Author: Fong, Pui-wai
Title: Evaluation of Hong Kong electronic road pricing policy with reference to Singapore's model and the feasibility of its implementation in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1999
Subject: Toll roads -- China -- Hong Kong
Toll roads -- Singapore
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Dept. of Management
Pages: vi, 143 leaves : maps ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1485280
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/1886
Abstract: Traffic Congestion is a headache to many policy makers in the world. It is undesirable as it adversely affects economic activities as well as the living standard of people. The air and noise pollution arising from traffic congestion pose considerable threat to people's health. Policy makers realise the disastrous impacts of traffic congestion and have taken various measures to solve the problem, for example, restraining car ownership and usage and expanding the road system etc. There is a tendency to use tolled road to solve the severe traffic congestion in the world. To manage the use of road, economists believe the use of market mechanism can effectively allocate the limited road space to road users. Road is no longer regarded as a free good and road users have to bear the cost when using the road. People hold different views towards Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) policy. Some regard it as a fair, equitable and efficient policy in solving congestion problem. On the other hand, some consider it as a government's means to shift its financial burden to the public. Moreover, it discriminates the poor to use the road. It is politically sensitive to carry out ERP and policy makers are unwilling to employ it. Back to Hong Kong, the government tried to introduce ERP as a solution to solve the serious congestion problem in 1983. A pilot test was conducted subsequently. The findings showed that it was technically feasible to implement ERP in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, there was strong public opposition due to reasons such as intrusion of privacy, and increase in financial burden of the public etc. The policy was then shelved. Recently, the government intends to re-introduce ERP as a long-term measure to address the congestion problem. A consultancy study has been conducted and the findings are expected to be known by end of 1999. The change in political environment and the poor economy make ERP policy more difficult to implement in Hong Kong. The government has learnt a good lesson from the setback encountered in 1983. The popular use of smart card and the set-up of Ordinance on Access to Code of Information make the privacy issue less debating. With the change in political environment, government realises the importance of consultation. It seeks advice from Transport Advisory Committee, Transport Panel of Legislative Council and the public etc. at various policy making stage. Singapore is the first country where ERP is used to smooth the traffic flow. It was in practice on 1.4.1998 and the result is good. Singapore and Hong Kong have many common aspects and hence Hong Kong can get valuable experiences from Singapore on how to implement ERP. But the entirely different political system of the two places means that Hong Kong will have far more political obstacles than its counterpart. A survey was conducted by the writer to study the public's attitude towards ERP policy. Findings show that people have less focus on privacy issue. On the other hand, they concern more about the poor economy and the availability of public transport etc. Actually, people are supportive of ERP if the government has done something, say, to brief people fully of the mechanism of ERP, and to make the operation of ERP as simple as possible etc. ERP is a good policy to alleviate congestion problem. But the complicated political environment as well as the poor economy will cause great hindrance to policy makers. They will not rationally measure the pros and cons of policy options but will try to satisfy most of the political parties. Despite its huge benefits bring to the society, it is not the right time for policy makers to further pursue the policy. As people's attention are drawn to much controversial policies such as the mainland children's right of abode and the civil service reform, policy makers will make use of the current situation to put the policy on hold.

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