Hong Kong Strategic Route and Exit Number System

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Strategic Route and Exit Number System
Route 1
A map of all Routes in Hong Kong
System information
Maintained by Transport Department
Formed: 2004
Highway names
Route: Route X
System links
Hong Kong Strategic Route and Exit Number System

The Hong Kong Strategic Route and Exit Number System (Traditional Chinese: 香港主要幹線及出口編號系統) is a system adopted by the Transport Department of the Hong Kong Government to organise the major roads in the territory into Routes 1 to 10 for the convenience of drivers. When the system was first implemented in 2004, the government launched a large campaign to promote it to the public. One of the slogans is "Remember the Numbers; Make Driving Easier" (認路記號碼,唔使路路查).

The system comprises nine major series of roads in Hong Kong, numbered Routes 1 to 5 and 7 to 10, which can be classified into three categories: the three north-south routes, the five east-west routes and the New Territories Circular Road. The route numbers are represented as black on yellow "road-shields" on overhead roadsigns.

The system also implemented exit numbering on the aforementioned routes. The exits of each route are numbered sequentially; some exit numbers are suffixed with a letter of the alphabet. Exit numbers are indicated by white in black rectangular boxes on overhead and roadside signs.


There are no traffic lights on the expressways. At an interchange with another road, an expressway is connected to it via the slip roads which is connected to the side road. This allows traffic to change routes without having to stop or slow down. Instead, traffic efficiency and land space are maximized by having traffic lights on terrestrial roads, as well as the usage of interchanges such as stack interchanges.

The Strategic Route System has roads with traffic lights, however, but they only appear in roads such as Waterloo Road (Route 1) and Kwun Tong Road (Route 7).

The road surface is asphalt, unlike normal roads which may have concrete surfaces. The lanes are separated with white dashed lines, while unbroken white lines are used to mark the edges of the median and shoulder. The shoulder is reserved for stops due to breakdowns and emergencies, and motorists are prohibited by law from travelling on it. Lanes are numbered from right to left, with lane 1 being the closest to the median. Crash barriers, cat's eyes and rumble strips are also used to ensure road safety.

There are signs marking the start and end of an expressway at its entry and exit points respectively. The speed limits in the Hong Kong highways are 110 km/h for North Lantau Expressway, 100 km/h for the New Territories roads and West Kowloon Highway, 80 km/h for the most expressways and 70 km/h, due to the older ones such as Island Eastern Corridor, East Kowloon Corridor, West Kowloon Corridor and Tsuen Wan Road. A speeding offence under 10 km/h over the speed limit is not usually enforced - many drivers in Hong Kong travel within this range. Cameras will shoot when it is above 15 km/h, with their fines imposed.

These expressways do not even have rest areas.

List of Asian Highway Networks:

  • AH368 around Route 8, which ends at Sha Tin
  • AH374 around Route 10, Route 9 and Route 3

Route number system[edit]

The "Exit 2" and "Route 5" signs at the entrance of Kai Tak Tunnel

The three north-south routes include Route 1, Route 2, and Route 3. They connect Hong Kong Island, metro Kowloon and the New Territories via a series of flyovers and tunnels. They pass through the three tunnels crossing Victoria Harbour, and their sequence of numbering follows the order of opening dates of the three tunnels:

The five east-west routes — Route 4, Route 5, Route 7, Route 8 and Route 10 — are numbered from south to north. The pattern indicates that Route 6 will most likely be built between Routes 5 and 7. Route 4 runs along the north shore of Hong Kong Island, connecting the eastern and western ends of the island, whereas Routes 5 and 7 link southern New Territories with different parts of Kowloon. Route 8 provides direct access to Chek Lap Kok Airport, and was extended to Sha Tin in 2008. Route 10 provides access to the border crossing at Shekou, Shenzhen.

  • Route 4: formerly Routes 7 and 8 (opened 1990)
  • Route 5: formerly Tsuen Wan - Ngau Tau Kok section of Route 2 (opened 1970-1980s)
  • Route 7: formerly Route 4 (opened 1970s)
  • Route 8: formerly Route 9 (Tsing Yi - Airport section opened 1997; Tsing Yi - Cheung Sha Wan section opened December 2009; Cheung Sha Wan - Sha Tin section opened 2008)
  • Route 10 (opened 2007)

The circular route, Route 9, circumscribes the New Territories, with the exit at the Shing Mun Tunnels in Sha Tin as the starting point of exit-numbering. It links up the network of expressways and trunk roads in the New Territories into a large ring.

  • Route 9: formerly Route 5 + Fo Tan - Lok Ma Chau section of Route 1 + Tsuen Wan - Lok Ma Chau section of Route 2 (construction from 1974–2007)

Exit number system[edit]

In parallel with route numbering, the junctions between routes and exits from routes are also labelled with exit numbers. On every route, exits are numbered from one end to the other with ascending consecutive integers with a mixture of alphabet-suffixed labels (1, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 4... etc.).


First generation[edit]

The first generation of the route number system in Hong Kong was envisaged in the 1968 Hong Kong Long Term Road Study by Freeman, Fox, Wilbur Smith & Associates, in which trunk routes were given single-digit numbers, and distributors with double-digit ones. Also included in the road study was an unnumbered Western Harbour Crossing (WHC), which in the plan involved a bridge crossing the Victoria Harbour between Cherry Street in Mong Kok and Kennedy Town, by way of Stonecutters Island and Green Island.[1]

Numbered routes included in the study were:[1][2]

Second generation[edit]

The second generation of route numbers came into use in 1974. All distributors lost their numbers, retaining only trunk routes in the system. It was replaced in 2004 by the present-day third generation. At the new system's conception, some numbers were reserved for future road plans at that time. There were 11 routes in the system, of which nine (routes 1 to 9) were used as of 2004.[3]

Third generation[edit]

The third generation of route numbers came into use in 2004, and is the system used at present.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "First generation route numbers". Hong Kong Place. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  2. ^ Hong Kong Long Term Road Study. Freeman, Fox, Wilbur Smith & Associates. 1968. 
  3. ^ "Second generation route numbers". Hong Kong Place. Retrieved 2008-06-22.