Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo on October 27 launched the province’s Smart Mobility 2030 Plan, which is a roadmap aimed at addressing the province’s transport challenges.
He pointed out that the two biggest challenges in the province are congestion and inefficiency in moving goods.
The Smart Mobility 2030 Plan focuses on the current transport scene and consolidates different plans into an integrated plan that will be used to improve transport systems in Gauteng.
The plan is anchored around three key strategic areas − infrastructure, operations and institutions. It involves creating connected and integrated transport systems.
In addition, earlier in October, the department launched the October Transport Month campaign with a special focus on smart mobility as a key driver for economic growth.
“Gauteng is part of the world movement embracing smart mobility. As a province, we consider ourselves a smart city region and that is why we are embracing the global movement of smart mobility,” said Mamabolo.
Moving Gauteng into the future requires the transport system to be aligned with new concepts and designs, as well as incorporating new technology, he noted.
In this regard, Mamabolo said that, historically, Gauteng, and Johannesburg in particular, were developed on the basis of gold mining and that this sector was becoming increasingly less prevalent and less of a contributor to South Africa’s gross domestic product.
As such, he said, infrastructure such as that of transport had to evolve with the changing dynamic of Gauteng’s economy.
“Transport is the service that must be able to play a role in Gauteng’s economy. We need both an economy that is sustainable as well as one that creates jobs,” said Mamabolo.
In developing the province's new smart mobility plan, he said the department started working with a team that had established what he called the Smart Transport Infrastructure Hub – which analysed all of Gauteng’s transport projects.
The team determined that the province would have to spend R23-billion on roads and public transport infrastructure in the next ten years to ensure it is upgraded to meet modern requirements.
In terms of freight, Mamabolo stated that 60% of all South Africa’s freight ends up in Gauteng. However, he added that because South Africa is the southern-most tip of Africa, the country is far from major international markets. This means that South African goods, in terms of price, will be at a disadvantage in competition with other manufacturers.
As such, he said the smart mobility plan aimed to address logistics inefficiencies in the province, which Mamabolo stated could include getting a higher number of cars off the road, with road users opting for public transport instead.
As such, he pointed to offerings like Gautrain being expanded into other areas to facilitate the transportation of people.