Overview and Outcome of Preliminary Feasibility Study (Completed)
Background of EFLS
The Kai Tak Outline Zoning Plan, approved in 2007, contains a provision for an elevated rail-based Environmentally Friendly Linkage System (EFLS) (alignment reserve shown in the figure on the right), which the Civil Engineering and Development Department investigated with a preliminary feasibility study (PFS) commissioned in 2009.
The project gained extra impetus and importance when the Chief Executive announced in his 2011-12 Policy Address that Kowloon East would become a new alternative central business district (CBD), to meet growing demand for high-quality office space to sustain Hong Kong’s economic growth and strengthen our global competitiveness, and that the Government was drawing up development strategies for the district. One of these strategies concerned building an environmentally friendly linkage system through the entire district to enhance connectivity within Kowloon East.
For this Energizing Kowloon East initiative to succeed, reliable, efficient, comfortable, green connections within Kowloon East and with the rest of Hong Kong are essential. In the long term, the EFLS will form the core of an integrated multi-modal linkage system for Kowloon East that also features improved pedestrian facilities, green road-based transport and the MTR, to provide the CBD with the world-class connectivity.
Preliminary EFLS Proposal under Preliminary Feasibility Study
• Preferred Alignment Option
In response to the first stage of the public consultation, some of the proposed locations of EFLS stations have been refined to avoid overlapping service catchment areas with the Shatin to Central Link and to enhance public access to the commercial developments at the Kowloon Bay business area. The preferred EFLS alignment is shown in the figure on the right.
Subject to the proposed detailed feasibility study to address the main issues raised in the public consultation, the recommended solution for the EFLS is an elegant elevated 9-kilometre, 12-station monorail running on parallel tracks from the MTR Kowloon Bay Station through the Kai Tak Development, and across a new Kwun Tong Transportation Link above the entrance of the Kwun Tong Typhoon Shelter to the MTR Kwun Tong Station.
• Train System
After reviewing many options, including rubber-tyred automatic people mover (APM), monorail, trolley bus, modern tram, cable liner shuttle, maglev and personal rapid transit systems in early studies, the two options considered most suitable were an elevated APM and an elevated monorail, with both having similar capital and maintenance costs.
The APM was more manoeuvrable and better able to negotiate tight corners to access the congested hinterland; and was more flexible and convenient for a multi-line design involving track sharing at junctions, when compared to the monorail. However, its slab structure guideway was much bulkier and more visually intrusive.
A simple alignment with a single service line in each direction without track sharing and sharp corners to overcome, favoured the monorail. The slim supporting structures of the monorail, causing less visual impact and impairment to daylight and ventilation, combined with its high tourism appeal made a monorail system the recommended option for the EFLS project. A two-car monorail train with a capacity of about 250 passengers would meet the forecast passenger demand in Kowloon East. The station design will build in flexibility for further expansion of the monorail to a three-car train to cope with potential increased in traffic demand in the future.
• Forecast Patronage, Financial Performance & Economic Return
The forecast daily patronage in 2031 is about 200,000 and the capital cost, at 2010 prices, is broadly estimated to be $12 billion.
The financial and economic returns of the proposed EFLS would not be satisfactory if treated solely as transport infrastructure. The anticipated revenue would not meet the capital cost as well as operating and maintenance expenses. We have broadly estimated that if both the capital cost and the subsequent replacement costs for electrical/mechanical works and rolling stock every 15-20 years are to be borne by the Government, the annual revenue could largely cover the running cost of the EFLS. The economic internal rate of return over 50 years of operation is estimated to be around +1%.
However, the above estimate for patronage, financial performance and economic return for the EFLS is conservative and does not take into account additional journeys generated by a revitalised Kowloon East with many diverse new attractions and activities.
Kowloon East is likely to be far more vibrant than a traditional business district with al fresco dining, entertainment and recreation, as well as the multi-purpose sports complex, a huge range of open spaces suitable for festivals and expos, and the recently announced Kai Tak Fantasy – a world-class tourism and entertainment hub that alone could increase EFLS daily patronage by about 10%.
• Key Advantages of an Elevated Monorail
Small footprint at road level – Supporting columns for the monorail can be located in central dividers of existing roads or roadside open spaces to minimise competing for road space with other for road users.
Reliable and safe service – A dedicated elevated corridor is free from congestion and potential conflicts with road users and pedestrians to offer both safety and reliability.
Convenient MTR interchange – Connecting at the same level as the elevated MTR Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay stations enhances inter-district connectivity with quick and easy transfers to the MTR system.
Enhanced tourism appeal – An elevated monorail gives passengers spectacular views of the Victoria Harbour and the beautiful landscape and iconic structures of the Kai Tak Development to increase the district’s appeal to tourists. A well-designed monorail can also become an iconic element of the district’s branding and visual identity.
• Implementation Programme
Based on the preliminary feasibility study, the EFLS is expected to be commissioned around 2023. However, this depends on a number of factors, including the pace at which the Kai Tak Development and the CBD progress; the programme for relocating the existing Kowloon Bay vehicle examination centre site to enable construction of the EFLS maintenance depot; and the schedule of other infrastructure projects, such as the Shatin to Central Link. The detailed feasibility study will review the implementation programme of the EFLS.
Under the PFS, the Civil Engineering and Development Department conducted a two-stage public consultation exercise on that proposal between early 2012 and early 2014. The outcomes of the previous two-stage public consultation are available in the links below:
To take forward the proposed EFLS, we had commenced a detailed feasibility study (DFS) in October 2015 to address the various public concerns and to draw up a scheme which would meet all statutory and government requirements and would be generally accepted by the stakeholders.