A Geographical Perspective on Urban Traffic Congestion
Mr Huang Zhiran PhD Student, Department of Geography, HKU
Traffic congestion is getting worse in metropolitan areas, which is undesirable for sustainable transportation. Over the past years, a great deal of scholarly attention has focused on the modeling of congestion, impacts of congestion, and anti-congestion strategies. However, studies on public perception towards traffic congestion have been rare. Additionally, research on the spatio-temporal characteristics of traffic jams mainly concentrates on the central business district (CBD) and congestion charging zones. Furthermore, limited research studies have been conducted on the impacts of the off-road transportation system (e.g. mass railway transit). Hence, from a geographical perspective, this thesis intends to investigate the urban traffic congestion by achieving three research objectives: a) uncovering the public perception towards traffic congestion over time; b) revealing the spatio-temporal characteristics of traffic congestion; and c) analyzing the impacts of off-road transportation system disruption. Utilizing the big data and existing tools, this study develops three methodologies to accomplish the research objectives. Firstly, to understand the public concerns of traffic congestion, this study conducts text analysis in congestion-related news articles from 2009 to 2018 in six Asian cities (i.e. Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Singapore). Secondly, to reveal the spatial and temporal patterns, this study adopts the Natural Cities Model in four Asian Cities (i.e. Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore). Finally, this study investigates the impacts of the frequent disruptions of Mass Transit Railway (major public railway service in Hong Kong) in 2019 by using ex-post analysis. The ultimate goal of this study is to uncover the overlooked issues in existing congestion research and to understand road congestion in the era of big data from a geographical perspective. Also, some policy implications regarding anti-congestion remedies are provided at the end of the study.