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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Transport & Construction | MTR Corporation On track to sustainability in transport

On track to sustainability in transport

MTR Corporation

Mass Transit Railway - Hong Kong
Mass Transit Railway - Hong Kong

As developing countries grow and transform, they are faced with a number of challenges in managing that growth, not least of which is how to move millions of people around in an efficient and environmentally-sustainable manner.

A strong transportation network provides the backbone for many modern cities. A clean, reliable and convenient urban railway can encourage millions of people to abandon their automobiles, thus reducing carbon emissions. The question is how to build such a network, and more importantly, how to fund its construction and operations.

The MTR Corporation’s experience in Hong Kong provides a good example. The Rail Plus Property Model (R+P) has been used to not only fund the territory’s ever-expanding urban train network, but has also led to the development of new, quality living environments alongside the railway that draws people into the area and makes using the railway an easy choice.

Under the R+P Model, the MTR purchases land from the Hong Kong Government at market price, in places where there is no existing rail infrastructure. Then it works with property developers to develop office, residential and commercial space surrounding – and frequently on top of – new railway stations. Not only does this address the rising need in Hong Kong for new residential communities offering quality downtown living, but it also has a number of positive financial and environmental benefits.

“The MTR is one of the few railways in the world that is financially sustainable,” said CEO, CK Chow. “The profits we realise from the property developments are used to construct new lines and operate the railway. In other words, we are able to use this model to internalise some of the economic benefits that are created by the railway and invest them in the operation of the railway, which is very unique. I think it’s the best model in the world, because it makes a capital intensive rail company profitable.”

Care of the community

The MTR brings people into the network by building communities close to transport hubs, high-quality communities that create modern living environments. By integrating the railway with offices, residences and commercial space, and providing a convenient connection to business districts and other urban areas, it makes taking the train often more convenient than driving a car.

“Rail is one of the solutions to reducing carbon emissions from road transport, which accounts for approximately 23% of carbon emissions globally. In Hong Kong, it’s a little less, at 16%,” added Dr Glenn Frommer, Head of Sustainability of the MTR Corporation. “We have built – and continue to build – a highly energy-efficient railway that provides convenient, safe, and affordable transit.”

The MTR’s R+P business model is being used again to build two new rail lines over the next few years to bring the convenience of the railway to several, as yet unconnected, communities, spurring economic growth and opportunities in those areas.

“We recognise that climate change is a global challenge,” said Mr Chow. “In Hong Kong, the MTR plays a vital role in the reduction of energy consumption and environmental preservation. The Rail Plus Property model has been a valuable solution to help finance the construction and operation of urban railways that are both financially and environmentally sustainable.”

MTR Corporation logo
MTR Corporation

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