A nightmarish scenario of unparalleled traffic gridlocks, with 25 million passenger trips a day and 6.5 million vehicles on the roads, is awaiting Gauteng residents in the next 25 years.
This is equivalent to traffic jams in Paris and London.
This according to MEC for roads and transport Ismail Vadi, who on Monday released the Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25), a study of the province’s 25-year needs for transport.
Gautrain Management Agency chief executive Jack van der Merwe led a team of experts in compiling the assessment. The report shows the province’s population will increase from 12.4 million to 18.7 million and its working population will grow to 8.6 million, thereby increasing passenger trips to about 25 million a day.
“The cost of doing nothing will be severe.”
“Given this scenario, and the sharp increase in the use of privately owned cars, the quality of life of residents of Gauteng will decrease,” he said.
As the provincial public transport system was expanded, residents should adopt a shift in transport modes from motorised to non-motorised trips, from private to public transport, and from road to rail, he added.
The ITMP25 planned to prioritise public transport, with the rail system becoming the backbone of the network.
The modelled forecasts indicated the cost of “doing nothing” would be severe, and would increasingly impact on the built and natural environment, the sustainability of the economy and the quality of life of residents.
Van der Merwe said the number of vehicles was set to double from 3.65 million to 6.5 million in the next 25 years.
“By continuing with the existing trends and not intervening in the present urban structure and the manner in which land is developed, not changing people’s travel patterns and choices, and not investing in more friendly technologies, Gauteng will increasingly become a far less pleasant and unhealthy urban area to live in,” he went on.
The average speed during peak hours would drop from the current 48km/h to 10km/h because the number of vehicles during peak hours was expected to rise from 2.2 million to 3.9 million.
As far as freight traffic was concerned, there were also some frightening figures, he said. With Durban establishing another port at the old Durban airport, the forecast was that it would receive 13 million containers a year. If 10 million of these came to Gauteng, this would mean about 24 000 truck trips a day on the Durban-Johannesburg route.
The most important solution to transport was housing, said Van der Merwe, adding the study showed that by 2037, 45 percent of the population could be accommodated within one kilometre of the public transport network.
THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO DO
Mainstream non-motorised transport.
Reinforce passenger rail networks.
Restructure and extend the integrated rapid and road-based public transport networks.
Create opportunities for the minibus taxi industry to become involved in the provision of subsidised public transport services.
Manage travel demand through ride sharing, improve walking and cycling environments.
Charge realistically for parking.
Find workplace solutions such as flexitime to reduce peak-hour traffic
Continue sustainable province-wide mobility that includes the upgrading of the R28, N4, N3, R24 and R59 and the construction of the PWV9, PWV15, PWV16, PWV17 and PWV 3.
PROPOSED SHORT AND LONG-TERM PLANS
Establish a transport authority for Gauteng that will:
Integrate other public transport with current commuter rail projects.
Restructure subsidies for road-based public transport contacts.
Develop a strategy for the transformation of the taxi industry into commercial entities.
Create capacity within government structures to manage travel demand and reduce congestion.
Enhance road access to major freight nodes.
Co-ordinate the planning with international and city airports and the Ekurhuleni aerotropolis.
Provide pedestrian and cycle paths.
Ensure province-wide mobility and upgrade key linkages.
Strengthen public-transport regulations - The Star