Strategic Studies on Railways and Major Roads beyond 2030

Hong Kong

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In December 2023, the Hong Kong SAR Government unveiled the Hong Kong Major Transport Infrastructure Development Blueprint. This blueprint was developed with insights and recommendations from the Strategic Studies on Railways and Major Roads beyond 2030 (RMR2030+), including our proposition of ‘Three Railways & Three Major Roads’. AECOM played a pivotal role in these planning endeavors, ensuring the city has a robust transport infrastructure strategy to fulfil its growth ambitions.

For the RMR2030+, we conducted detailed and extensive transport forecasting and modelling, which was substantiated by a thorough public consultation exercise and a strategic environmental assessment since 2020. The blueprint envisions a highly interconnected and accessible transport network that will foster the city’s connections to the GBA and the world, spur economic growth, enhance the quality of life, and strengthen social cohesion. The scale of the upcoming megaprojects is unprecedented. The blueprint not only proposes major road and railway projects but also calls for the implementation of smart and green mass transit systems (SGMTS) in Hong Kong, with AECOM assuming a key role.

Fostering community engagement and collaboration

AECOM devised a public consultation strategy to solicit and integrate opinions from a wide range of stakeholder groups. These included the Legislative Council, the Transport Advisory Committee, the Heung Yee Kuk, district councils as well as green groups, industry bodies, academia, think tanks and the general public.

This inclusive approach ensured that the RMR2030+ proposals met community and stakeholder expectations, while building a solid foundation of trust and transparency to support further implementation. As a result, the proposals have been refined to enhance the efficiency of the transport network in the New Territories:

  • The Central Rail Link will include three additional intermediate stations and connect to the Tsuen Wan Line
    • Value: increase the catchment area and cater to future housing developments
  • The Northern Metropolis Highway will be extended eastward
    • Value: provide direct access to key development nodes in the NTN New Town and connect to the Heung Yuen Wai Highway
  • A slip road to connect the major tunnel of the Shatin Bypass to Shing Mun Tunnels Road will be added
    • Value: establish a direct and efficient route for road users travelling between northeast and west New Territories

Environmental considerations

AECOM is committed to enriching the quality of life and well-being of the communities we serve. To balance the economic, social and recreational needs of society with environmental implications of infrastructure projects, we incorporated insights from our Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) into the formulation of the “Three Railways & Three Major Roads” recommendation. Through our SEA, we were able to identify and optimize the environmental benefits of the proposals, such as less road congestion.

Ensuring a future ready transport infrastructure for Hong Kong

AECOM’s comprehensive understanding of future road traffic conditions and projected demand for rail transport in Hong Kong played a pivotal role in shaping the alignments and timelines of the railway and road proposals outlined in RMR2030+. This informed our preliminary recommendation for three strategic railways and three major roads, all of which have been incorporated into the blueprint.

Robust and reliable modelling and forecasting were instrumental in charting the trajectory of Hong Kong’s future transport system. AECOM’s Strategic Transport Model has the capability to simulate road traffic conditions across a spectrum of scenarios up to 2046 and beyond. Similar for railways, AECOM has spearheaded all railway development studies in Hong Kong since the first one in 1994. Leveraging our wealth of experience and knowledge, we have enhanced the current Railway Development Study Model to forecast demand for the proposed new railway lines.

AECOM’s Strategic Transport Model and Railway Development Study Model are instrumental in planning the course of Hong Kong’s transport evolution. They are adept at evaluating the repercussions of various scenarios on road and rail traffic, providing reliable forecasting up to 2046 and beyond. With our extensive consultancy history in railway development studies in Hong Kong, we have refined these models to deliver a precise forecast for the new railway lines.

SGMTS – a green solution to enhance local connectivity

The transport infrastructure blueprint includes the introduction of smart and green mass transit systems (SGMTS), representing a novel addition to the city’s landscape. These lightweight transit systems are ideal for compact urban spaces or areas with challenging terrain.

AECOM has been intricately involved in all three SGMTS proposed in the transport blueprint:

  • Over a decade ago, AECOM conducted a feasibility study for the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) on an “Environmentally Friendly Transit System” serving the Kai Tak Development Area and its surrounding regions. In the transport blueprint, these plans have been reimagined as part of the SGMTS framework.
  • We undertook a feasibility study for a SGMTS serving the Hung Shui Kiu/Ha Tsuen New Development Area, aimed at establishing connectivity to Yuen Long South and key transport hubs. Our involvement encompassed the evaluation of different transit modes, engineering implications, potential extensions and operations planning for this route.
  • AECOM collaborated closely alongside the Highways Department to devise plans for a SGMTS in East Kowloon. We assessed the viability of different transport systems on this hilly terrain, scrutinizing engineering implications, costs, economic benefits, operational strategies and possible extensions.