What Hong Kong can teach us about smart mobility

Wed, 2014-07-23 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Moving seven million people around one of the world's most densely populated cities requires a big dose of innovation. Hong Kong seems to be managing it by being smart about mobility.

Euronews notes that 90% of daily journeys in Hong Kong are on public transport and vehicle ownership is much lower than other cities.

And public transport goes beyond buses, subways and high-speed trains. For instance, there's what Euronews says is the world’s longest covered outdoor escalator which 60,000 people a day commute on for half an hour to avoid commuting along hilly, winding roads.

Hong Kong is also aggressive about pollution. Those who do drive are fined if they leave their engines running for more than three minutes while stalled in traffic. Laser pollution cameras detect vehicles that break exhaust fume limits.  Other initiatives include tax breaks for environmentally friendly cars and switching to greener fuels.

Using intelligent transport systems

Leung Tak-Fai, Hong Kong Assistant Commissioner for Transport, told FutureGov that one of the strategies his city uses is to maximize road use and the routes during peak times, which it can do by processing real-time traffic information and making it available to the public. It's an intelligent transport system that relies on apps, maps and analytics to keep people moving about.

FutureGov notes that Hong Kong also installed the first area traffic control system in Southeast Asia to coordinate traffic lights. The system operates 96% of the city's signaled intersections.

A bus for pets too

Even Hong Kong pets figure into transit options. A dedicated pet bus recently launched to take pets and their owners out and about in the city. CCTV.com reports that without a car, access to pet-friendly places can be difficult. They aren't allowed on most all public transit and taxis are expensive.

"A dedicated pet bus service provides pet owners a cheaper way to bring their pets to places other than areas just near their own homes. This service also allows the pets and pet owners to go to more places like dog parks to explore and play together," Kamric To Kam-Wai, who founded the service, told CCTV.com.

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