Before 1898, most of the important roads of the New Territories villages led to the local markets, or else went from market to market. These roads were paved with stone slabs.
After the British lease, the Tai Po Road began to be built linking the eastern New Territories and Kowloon, together with the Castle Peak Road linking Kowloon and the western New Territories, thus making a road network serving the eastern and western parts of the New Territories.
The opening of the Kowloon-Canton Railway in 1911 had a huge influence on communications between the Kowloon urban area and the northern and southern parts of the New Territories.
From the later 1950s, the New Territories began to be developed in response to the pressure to resettle urban residents and to the need to find land as sites for industry.
The first area to be developed was Tsuen Wan, close to the urban area, which was developed in the 1960s as a Satellite Town on the Kwun Tong model.
This Satellite Town was a town designed to solve the work and livelihood problems of city-centre residents.
The second phase of development took place in the 1970s, and included the development of Sha Tin, Tuen Mun, and Yuen Long, Tai Po, Fan Ling, and Sheung Shui. At this period the name of these development areas was changed to New Towns, to recognise the self-sufficient, balanced development standards now adopted. The third period of development, in the mid 1980s, consisted of Ma On Shan and Tseung Kwan O.
At this period, the authorities recognised that the New Towns could not achieve the self-sufficiency previously aimed at, and reverted to the previous strategy of concentrating development around the Harbour.
Because of this, this period saw great attention being paid to the balanced development of the New Towns, to ensure the effective improvement of the road system, and the control of public transport fares and so on.