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Aug 30, 2013

Gauteng seeks input on ‘radical’ spatial and transport plan

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ISMAIL VADI The ITMP25 is a radical paradigm shift in spatial and transport planning
Photo: Duane Daws
ISMAIL VADI The ITMP25 is a radical paradigm shift in spatial and transport planning
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Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Dr Ismail Vadi has unveiled the province’s proposed 25-year integrated transport master plan (ITMP25), set to guide the Gauteng government in its transport development and planning.

The public has the opportunity to comment on the document up to September 20.

Key proposals of the programme include moving from the construction of single-storey low-cost housing to multistorey housing to accomodate the rapid increase in the province’s population; setting land aside for a second OR Tambo International Airport; building specialised freight bypass roads through the province; as well as upgrading and expanding the existing commuter rail network.

A steering committee, appointed in June 2011 and headed by Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe, had the task of drafting the ITMP25.

“The ITMP25 is a radical paradigm shift in spatial and transport planning,” says Vadi.

“The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has the will to make the ITMP25 an integral part of our vision and operational plans. It is committed to making the necessary governance and institutional arrangements to ensure that the ITMP25, once approved, is implemented in a coordinated, cooperative and synergistic manner.”

The ITMP25 follows on from a shorter-term five-year plan, published in June last year and developed to tackle more immediate challenges, such as establishing a single transport authority for Gauteng.

A Gauteng Transport Commission, an interim step to establishing a Gauteng Transport Authority in three to five years’ time, is to be esstablished before the end of the year.

Vadi says the five-year plan is already opera-tional and budgeted for by his department.

He adds that implementing the ITMP25 will require the transport budget in the province to double in the short term, and then increase fourfold to 2037.

The current budget is around R5-billion.

While the ITMP25 mentions a number of funding options, it also makes some interesting suggestions, such as ‘cordon tolling’, where vehicle owners pay to drive in certain areas, while a ‘balanced road-user tariff’ will consist of vehicle licence fees payable to access the network. A ‘weight-distance levy’ will allocate responsibility for structural impact on the road.

The cost of doing nothing to expand the Gauteng transport network, rather than paying for the implementation of the ITMP25, “is much higher”, notes Van der Merwe.

From now to 2037, average peak-hour person trips are set to grow from 2.2-million to 3.9-mil- lion, with the average peak hour road network speed to reduce from 48 km/h to below 10 km/h.

At the average speed of 15 km/h for a horse-drawn carriage, this will be slower than travel-ling speeds at the turn of the twentieth century.

Eight Interventions
Intervention 1: Housing

In order to better serve the needs of the poor, the ITMP25 suggests that residents be accommodated on well-located land parcels in close proximity to public transport within the provincial urban core. This will require that full-title, medium- to high-density subsidised housing become the dominant housing type.

Intervention 2: Densification
The ITMP25 modelling process shows that, by 2037, 45% of the province’s population can be accommodated within 1 km from the provincial priority public transport network. However, this will require large-scale in-fill development, densification and redevelopment of older urban areas, as well as the containment of urban sprawl.

Intervention 3: Mainstreaming nonmotorised transport (NMT)
Close to 70% of all travellers and commuters in Gauteng use nonmotorised transport, such as walking and cycling, to complete their trips. However, NMT infrastructure is often seen as an add-on during planning processes, with the result that the environment is “inconvenient”, insecure and unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. A paradigm shift is required in road design.

Intervention 4: Reinforcing passenger rail as the backbone of the system
Rail transport is considered appropriate on main, high-density corridors. The Gauteng government must facilitate the efforts of Metrorail and the Gautrain to develop and extend the rail network. Extensions to these systems are, for example, envisaged to link Hammanskraal to Pretoria, and Soweto to Krugersdorp, to Randburg and Sandton.

Intervention 5: Restructuring and extending the integrated rapid and road-based public transport networks
To build a more sustainable urban environ-ment, with less congestion, a more efficient road-based public transport system is required. Planning here includes the expansion of an integrated ticketing system across all public transport networks, as well as the continued development of bus rapid transit systems.

Intervention 6: Strengthening freight hubs
Gauteng experiences a number of constraints from a freight logistics perspective. These constraints can be limited by, for example, setting up a number of freight hubs in growth nodes, developing road links to these freight hubs and decreasing the number of heavy truck freight (five and more axles) in city centres through the ‘user pays’ principle.

Intervention 7: Travel demand management – travelling smarter
In addition to investing into the supply side of transport, it is critical to manage demand through focused transport management interventions, such as workplace travel plans, which may include the promotion of flexi-time work schedules to reduce congestion, as well as road-space rationing by restricting travel based on, for example, licence plate numbers at certain times. This may force people to car-share. Public transport should also be subsidised.

Intervention 8: Continued sustainable province-wide mobility through new roads
Gauteng should continuously update its existing road network. The province should upgrade the R28, N4, N3, R24 and R59. It should also construct the proposed PWV9, PWV2 (proposed freight bypass road), PWV5 (proposed freight bypass road), PWV13, PWV15, PWV16, PWV17 (proposed freight bypass route) and PWV3 roads.

Assuming a typical cost of R28-million a freeway km and R12-million a lane-km for other roads, the cost to provide the 2037 road network will be around R125-billion in current rand value.

Other recommendations:
OR Tambo International Airport should be sufficient to remain the intercontinental air- port for wide-body aircraft, at least up to 2037. However, a feasible site for a second intercontinental airport in Gauteng should be identified and reserved. Lanseria and Wonderboom airports should be city airports accommodating narrow-body aircraft for scheduled domestic and international flights to sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
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