Gauteng unveils 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan

PRETORIA: (By Steve Jobs)– The Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, has  released the 25-Year Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25) to ensure province-wide mobility in future for all Gauteng residents.

Vadi described ITMP25 as “a point of departure from apartheid spatial planning, land use and mobility patterns”, saying it ushered in an innovative way of structuring future societal development.

The MEC said the plan would better the lives of residents, stimulate economic growth and make the province an attractive destination for investment and tourism.

The 25-year plan, developed by an inter-disciplinary team led by Gautrain CEO Jack van der Merwe, assesses the current transport and land-use challenges.

It also forecasts economic and population growth scenarios, which have been used to plan the future transport needs and solutions in the province.

Van der Merwe said ITMP25 predicts that Gauteng’s population will increase from the current 12.3 million residents to 18.7 million, while its working population will grow to 8.6 million. Passenger trips are projected to grow to approximately 25 million per day, resulting in serious traffic congestion.

To facilitate the implementation of the ITMP25, eight mutually supportive strategic interventions have been identified.

These interventions are arranged into the following four clusters:

Land Use Development

  • Subsidised housing provision within core urban areas
  • Land use densification in support of public transport

Strategic Public Transport Network

  • Mainstreaming non-motorised transport
  • Reinforcing passenger rail network as the backbone of the system
  • Extending the integrated rapid and road-based public transport networks

Freight Transport

  • Strengthening freight hubs

Road Transport

  • Travel demand management
  • Continued provincial wide mobility

Shifting transport modes

Vadi said as the provincial public transport system was expanded, residents ought to adopt a shift in transport modes from motorised to non-motorised trips, private to public transport, and from road to rail.

“Given the prospect of the population growing to 18.7 million and a sharp increase in the use of privately-owned cars, residents of Gauteng would live through the nightmarish scenario of unparalleled traffic gridlocks,” said Vadi.

The ITMP25 prioritises public transport, with the rail system being the backbone of the network.

This will enable a shift from private vehicles to public and non-motorised transport, which will reduce congestion, enhance efficiency and promote sustainability.

The modelled forecasts indicate that the cost of “doing nothing” will be severe and increasingly impact on the built and natural environment, the sustainability of the Gauteng Global City Region’s economy, and the quality of life of all its residents.

By continuing with the existing trends and not intervening in the present urban structure and the manner in which land is developed, Gauteng would increasingly become a far less pleasant and unhealthy urban area to live in.

Vadi said strengthening freight rail and the movement of long-haul freight from road to rail was important, including a focus on the development of major rail-based freight logistic hubs located in the periphery of the core urban areas.

The ITMP25 also includes references to aviation and cross-cutting transport system elements such as Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS); sustainable (“green”) transport, and the construction of new freeways.

Possible longer-term funding options and institutional arrangements to successfully deliver on the proposed plan were also developed. It proposes the establishment of a province-wide transport authority and a fourfold increase in funding for transport infrastructure over the period.

Implementing the eight strategic interventions and other recommendations proposed by the ITMP25 would work towards achieving an integrated and efficient transport system that promotes sustainable economic growth, skills development and job creation; fosters quality of life; socially includes all communities, and preserves the environment.

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