2023 Green Transport Survey Result
Promoting green transport is one of the main policy objectives of the Hong Kong SAR Government (the Government) to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. A motion on “Comprehensively promoting the development of hydrogen energy industry in Hong Kong” by the Legislative Council and several agreements-in-principle on trial projects on hydrogen fuel technology given by the Environment and Ecology Bureau-led Inter-departmental Working Group on Using Hydrogen as Fuel begin a new chapter on developing new energy transport in Hong Kong.
Following the previous “Green Transport Survey” (the Survey) in 2022, Green Sense conducted a similar survey from June to August 2023 and a total of 469 questionnaires were collected. The Survey aims to assess the commuting habits and patterns of the general public, understand the acceptance of introducing sustainable transport in Hong Kong, and examine the willingness to share the cost incurred when switching to eco-friendly vehicles. The Survey particularly analyses the factors when choosing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles over new energy vehicles, or vice versa, and studies the incentives to switch to new energy vehicles or public transport. After data analysis and comparison, the key outcomes of the Survey are as follows:
1. Work locations expanded to non-central business districts (CBDs)
Based on the responses from individuals who commute mainly for work, work locations have been sprawled from traditional CBDs, such as Central and Western District and Yau Tsim Mong District, to inner areas of Hong Kong such as Eastern District, Sha Tin District, Sham Shui Po District and Kwun Tong District, etc. Green Sense believes that the phenomenon is associated with several land use planning policies and projects by the Government, such as revitalization of industrial buildings and the Energizing Kowloon East initiative. It is suggested that the authorities and transport operators should augment public transport services during peak hours in these regions and should consider opening new public car parks on the outskirts to alleviate regional traffic demand.
2. Increasing use of electric vehicles (EV)
The percentage of respondents using EVs has significantly increased from 11% in 2022 to 32% this year. The “One-for-One Replacement” scheme and tax concessions for EVs effectively incentivize individuals to make the switch from fuel-propelled vehicles to EVs. The Survey also reveals that most private car drivers are willing to switch to EVs due to various concession schemes and subsidies provided by the Government, as well as environmental consideration.
It is understood that car dealerships need to estimate car sales in advance to prepare for delivery, and whether the tax concession policy continues has a significant impact on car sales. Green Sense recommends that the Government regularize the First Registration Tax concession policy, and increase the number of quick EV charging stations to attract more private cars to be replaced by electric vehicles as soon as possible, so as to achieve the target of ceasing new registration of fuel propelled private cars by 2035.
3. More than 90% of the respondents support the introduction of eco-friendly public transport, but about a quarter are unwilling to pay the additional cost incurred
More than 90% of the respondents support the gradual introduction of eco-friendly public transport, which is a similar result to last year. Due to the higher cost of operating and maintaining eco-friendly public transport, Green Sense investigated the willingness to pay extra fares to cover the cost, but about a quarter of the respondents are unwilling to pay the additional cost, and nearly 40% of the respondents are only willing to pay less than $1.
Countries of the European Union, such as France and Germany utilize green bond funds to subsidize the development of green transport, relevant policies include the introduction of public transport monthly passes, expansion of the railway network, and improvement of water transport. Green Sense suggests that the Government should make good use of the Green Bond Programmes to enhance public transport services, or to provide more fare concessions to citizens who regularly use public transport.
4. Railway and buses are the main modes of transportation, 10% are minibuses, and few respondents use active transport
Railway is the main mode of transportation, followed by buses and minibuses, while walking and cycling accounted for about 5%. Achieving zero-carbon transportation is mainly focused on railways and buses, and green minibuses, which account for nearly 10% of the market, should also be considered in the future.
Various public transportation has begun trials on new energy vehicles (e.g. buses, minibuses, taxis). Green Sense suggests that more charging locations should be reserved for taxis and minibuses in future new development areas or redevelopment projects in Hong Kong, aligned with current land use planning policies and principles. For example, replacing petrol filling stations with EV charging stations, conducting research and taking measures on the long-term development of hydrogen transport.