LegCo Panel on Transport
Traffic Surveillance and Information System for Tuen Mun Road, Stage 2


This paper seeks Members’ view on whether we should proceed with the second stage of the proposed Traffic Surveillance and Information System (TSIS) for Tuen Mun Road.


2. In 1994, approval was obtained from the Public Works Vetting Committee to include in Category C of the Public Works Programme (PWP) an item to examine the feasibility of a TSIS for Tuen Mun Road. The system comprises a closed circuit television (CCTV) system, an automatic incident detection (AID) system on Tuen Mun Road and a series of variable message signs (VMS). The CCTV system is intended to facilitate early detection of incidents and accidents on Tuen Mun Road so that vehicle recovery action could be taken as soon as practicable to reduce traffic delays. VMS would give motorists the latest traffic information and advice when Tuen Mun Road is affected by traffic congestion so that they can choose an alternative route rather than risk getting caught in traffic congestion.

3. 19 CCTV cameras were subsequently installed in July 1995. Finance Committee approved funds for the AID system and VMS along Tuen Mun Road and on major roads in Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun and Yuen Long to the order of $119.9 million in July 1995. This was followed by invitation of tenders in December 1995 for the provision as shown in Annex 1. Tenders received in early 1996 revealed that the approved project estimate (APE) of $119.9 million was insufficient for the works indicated and that it would have to be increased to $195 million. The higher cost for the project was due to the increase in the number of VMS and the difficult working conditions on Tuen Mun Road.

4. At the Public Works Sub-committee (PWSC) meeting on 10 July 1996, our application to increase the APE from $119.9 million by $75.1M to $195 million was rejected for the following reasons:

  1. the existing Congestion Indicator (CI) signs erected in Tuen Mun were under-utilized; and
  2. the proposed VMS might become obsolete after the completion of Route 3 Country Park Section (CPS) when traffic conditions on Tuen Mun Road should be significantly improved.

5. PWSC requested Transport Department to review the project scope and seek the advice of the Transport Panel.

Relevant considerations

6. We have reviewed the scope of the project taking into account:

    the comments of PWSC
    the resources required
    recent developments

The following factors are relevant:

  1. To ensure full utilization of the TSIS, fully trained Police officers will be deployed for its operation.
  2. In the light of the results of the last tender exercise, we estimate that the total cost of the project at present day prices would be in the order of $217 million. In view of the lapse of time, the works would have to be re-tendered and the earliest completion date would be late 1998. Even with the opening of Route 3 around mid-1998, Tuen Mun Road will remain a very important road link for New Territories West. The newly installed VMS will not become obsolete. In the event of an incident on Tuen Mun Road, it will provide up-to-date traffic information and diversionary advice to motorists to enable them to decide whether to proceed to Tuen Mun Road, use Route 3 (CPS) or other routes.
  3. We plan to carry out a comprehensive examination of the introduction, operation and management of TSIS facilities so that they can be planned and implemented in a more efficient manner taking into account resource requirements (staff, capital and recurrent costs) and financial constraints. The study would commence in early 1997 for completion in mid 1998.


7. In the light of the above developments, there are the following three options in regard to the TSIS for Tuen Mun Road:

Option 1

To proceed with the TSIS project as submitted to PWSC in July 1996. As mentioned in paragraph 6(b) above, the APE of $119.9 million would have to be increased substantially. Apart from the cost involved, we would be singling out the Tuen Mun Road for an installation of this nature at this stage without a thorough review of alternative arrangements.

Option 2

To wait for the outcome of the study described in paragraph 6(c) above. In the meantime, monitoring of traffic conditions will continue to be carried out through the system of CCTV cameras and congestion indicator signs already provided at the major approaches to Tuen Mun Road.

The advantage is that we would then have a full picture of the need for and the effectiveness of TSIS for the road network and the related operation, management, legislation and enforcement requirements. We would also be able to ensure that the system proposed for Tuen Mun Road would be compatible with the study recommendations.

The disadvantage is that Tuen Mun Road would not be provided with VMS. The CI signs already erected would provide motorists with less information. There would also be a time lag of at least two years even if we eventually decide to proceed with the project.

Option 3

To proceed with a modified scheme which comprises 4 VMS in Yuen Long, 2 VMS in Tuen Mun, and 2 VMS in Tsuen Wan as shown in Annex 2. To minimise project cost, no VMS and AID will be installed along Tuen Mun Road and Castle Peak Road. Under this arrangement, motorists in Yuen Long, Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan will receive early notification of any incident on Tuen Mun Road and advice on alternative diversionary routes. The cost of the project would be reduced to around $90 million in money of the day prices and the works can be completed in a shorter period of 14 months. This modest scheme will enable us to gain operational experience of VMS which is new to Hong Kong.

The disadvantage is that there will be fewer VMS on the roads for motorists and none will be provided along Tuen Mun Road and Castle Peak Road. Nonetheless, the modified scheme would still fulfill the main objective of the scheme which is to prevent large volume of vehicles from entering Tuen Mun Road in the event of an incident which would aggravate traffic conditions.

As in Option 1, fully trained Police officers will be deployed in the control centre to operate the system.

Advice Sought

8. Members are requested to advise on the option which should be adopted.

Transport Branch
November 1996.

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