Gauteng’s population was growing at around 20 000 people a month, said Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Dr Ismail Vadi on Tuesday.
He addressed the Intelligent Transport Society South Africa’s international conference, held in Midrand.
Vadi said people were flowing into the province, the country’s economic powerhouse, from all over the country, as well as north of South Africa.
“This is putting huge pressure on all of our service delivery systems,” he noted.
The province’s vehicle population was also expanding rapidly, and was expected to almost double from the current 3.6-million vehicles, of which 62 000 were minibus taxis, to around 6.6-million vehicles over the next 25 years.
“We have to plan for that,” said Vadi.
Planning for the growth in the number of people and the growth in vehicle population in Gauteng would have to be done through the province’s proposed 25-year integrated transport master plan (ITMP25), set to guide the Gauteng government in its transport development and planning.
The document, which also addressed issues related to transport, such as housing and spatial planning, is available for public comment to September 20.
Vadi said it was of importance to the ITMP25 to see to the densification of existing residential areas, rather than to continue expansion towards the province’s edge.
“Once we have densified, we can put in the transport infrastructure.”
ITMP25 steering committee chairperson Jack van der Merwe said residential density in Gauteng was 7.43 units a hectare, compared with 20 units a hectare in London, and 51 units a hectare in Lagos.
Proposed transport infrastructure in the densified areas would hopefully, in around five years, include around 1 000 km of bus rapid transit system routes.
The corridor that the ITMP25 targeted for densification or, the corridor that would be the province’s “next critical development node”, said Vadi, would stretch between Pretoria and Johannesburg, as well as east of the OR Tambo International Airport towards Pretoria, and then cutting a 45 degree angle towards Lanseria Airport.
Vadi said it was important to preserve Gauteng’s agricultural and conservation land as the province developed.
It was also important to reduce transport’s carbon footprint, with Vadi hinting at a “policy shift” as the province was busy drafting a sustainable transport document that would soon be published for comment.
“The reliance on petrol [and diesel] in the province is not sustainable.”
Vadi added that any future development of the Gauteng transport system would, however, require a reliance on intelligent transport systems (ITS).
Typical ITS applications in Gauteng would include, or already included, traffic management to reduce congestion, freeway incident management, automated fare collection through one ticket used on all modes of transport, fleet management systems, and transport management centres – ideally through a single provincial command centre.
Vadi said there was “massive scope for expansion” in the ITS industry in the province, including through research and development of new products.
“There is a lot of work to be done to develop the right kind of technology for the province.”