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Resource Language:

English

Regional Focus

Asia

How Hong Kong Built the World's Best Transit

PolyMatter

Author: PolyMatter
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Subjects: Social Studies, Economics, Civics
Format: YouTube Video
Resource Type:
  • Video, 10 minutes, 53 seconds, CC, Subtitles
Synopsis
  • This video provides information about Hong Kong's efficient and profitable public transit systems, including the mass transit railway (MTR) that has more than 5.9 million riders each day. 
  • Students will learn that the MTR is able to turn a profit while keeping passenger prices low by incorporating funding from the sale or rental of land near the railway.
  • Though the MTR provides clean, comfortable, and punctual transportation, the government has also used the system to exert control over the people, especially during government protests. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video provides a balanced view of the benefits and the disadvantages of a system in which the government is the primary landholder.
  • Visual learners will appreciate the maps and other graphics that are used to illustrate concepts in the video. 
  • A linked sources list is available in the video description.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video contains advertisements and pop-ups.
  • Students should be familiar with the general history of Hong Kong as well as the current political situation in order to understand the protests discussed in the video.

Differentiation

  • Civics or government classes could discuss why public transit is government funded. After the discussion students could research the local public transit system to answer the following questions:
    • What types of public transit exist?
    • How is public transit funded?
    • How much does is cost to use public transit?
    • What percentage of the population uses public transit?
    • Which parts of the community have little or no access to public transit?
    • Is public transit as efficient as car travel?
    • What are some ways that public transit could be improved?
  • Ethics or civics classes could debate whether the benefits of living in a place like Hong Kong outweigh the disadvantages. After the debates, students could write personal reflections on whether it is possible for a society to provide social programs for its people while still preserving personal rights and individual freedoms.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video about car-free streets in Europe, this SubjectToClimate lesson plan that gives students a chance to compare different modes of transportation, and this Vox video on how highways make traffic worse.
Scientist Notes

This video showcases the urban transportation model of Hong Kong. It can be replicated to ensure a clean and safer transportation system. It also explores government policies such as income tax rates, land rights and ownership, urban planning, etc. These measures are appropriate to drive sustainable economic development and environmental sustainability. There are only a few scientific facts to verify. This resource is recommended for teaching.

Standards
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.2.6-8 Explain specific roles played by citizens (such as voters, jurors, taxpayers, members of the armed forces, petitioners, protesters, and office-holders).
      • D2.Civ.6.6-8 Describe the roles of political, civil, and economic organizations in shaping people's lives.
      • D2.Civ.10.6-8 Explain the relevance of personal interests and perspectives, civic virtues, and democratic principles when people address issues and problems in government and civil society.
      • D2.Civ.10.9-12 Analyze the impact and the appropriate roles of personal interests and perspectives on the application of civic virtues, democratic principles, constitutional rights, and human rights.
      • D2.Civ.8.9-12 Evaluate social and political systems in different contexts, times, and places, that promote civic virtues and enact democratic principles.
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.6-8 Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
      • D2.Eco.2.6-8 Evaluate alternative approaches or solutions to current economic issues in terms of benefits and costs for different groups and society as a whole.
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.7.9-12 Use benefits and costs to evaluate the effectiveness of government policies to improve market outcomes.
      • D2.Eco.8.9-12 Describe the possible consequences, both intended and unintended, of government policies to improve market outcomes.
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