Look no further for a vision of Hong Kong in the new millennium: a population choking on traffic fumes and tormented by noise from juggernauts is already being planned in the Transport Department. But don't expect to find this nightmare in any of their glossy brochures or on their Web site. The nightmare future is only for the eyes of those with deep pockets and the willpower to plough through thousands of pages of technical detail. The reason is that the civil service has pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book with the Third Comprehensive Transport Development Study, which it released in October. While the glossy brochures were full of pictures of flowers, the reality is that computer modelling has shown that today's air pollution problems are merely a foul taste of what is coming. The Government's consultants zoomed in to Po Shun Road, a busy route in Tseung Kwan O which in 1997 was already hopelessly noisier than existing guidelines. Instead of getting better, it gets much worse. Not only is it noisier at peak time, by 2001 it is noisier in the night than it was at peak time in 1997. 'This very unfavourable situation for this station in Tseung Kwan O actually is the norm, for most, if not all, of the roadways.' By this time, even the usually bland consultants' language gives way to bluntness. 'Residents are basically being bombarded by excessive traffic noise from early in the morning to deep into the night-time hours. 'It is a no-escape every-hour situation.' The glossy brochure also omits that by 2016, traffic-related pollution in Yuen Long, could be three times as bad as today. Even Sai Kung and outlying islands will suffer a similar rise in traffic pollution levels. By 2016, eight of the nine air monitoring stations across the SAR will be registering at above recommended levels. These road building dreams will mean the loss of more than 450 hectares of the dwindling countryside - another fact found nowhere in the glossy brochure. Anyone wanting to get the real picture is going to have to visit the Transport Department offices in Wan Chai with a crisp $1,000 note and a wheelbarrow to take away the reports. After wading through them, the reader is left with no doubt that, despite the claimed bias towards rail, civil servants are still manically dreaming of roads, roads and more roads, including two slicing through the middle of Kowloon that would cost around $50 billion - approaching the cost of the new airport. Even the middle of the water is not safe: the full reports show consideration is being given to putting a road between North Point and Central in a floating tunnel in the harbour, tethered between surface and seabed. That no such tunnel has ever been built anywhere in the world does not stop the roadbuilders' dreams. Any government releasing such a study just a few weeks after its leader had pledged to turn his kingdom into 'a pleasant and safe living environment' could expect to be ridiculed. How did he escape? The civil service dribbed and drabbed the information out in a way that killed its news value. First the glossy brochure was released. Then a summary of the study was released - but without the tables that show the most dramatic findings. Then the whole study was quietly put up for sale. This step-by-step release, combined with the philosophy of local news organisations which place premium on novelty and freshness, means coverage has been very limited. After all, who would be interested in the technical details of a report issued months ago? Gren Manuel is a Post staff writer. Danny Gittings is on holiday.