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Major South African airports score well in international on-time rankings

South Africa’s three main airports have each been awarded four-star ratings for flight punctuality, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has announced. The rankings were awarded by global flight information provider OAG.

The maximum number of stars that can be awarded in the OAG On-Time Performance (OTP) Ratings is five, and only the top 10% of airports and airlines are given five stars. ACSA aims to join that 10%.

The four-star South African airports are all owned and operated by ACSA. The best performer amongst them was Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, with 84.8% on-time performance. This was followed by Cape Town International Airport (84.4%) and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (82.9%).

“Operating large airports is a complex business that involves coordination and integration among thousands of people who provide the services required for aircraft to be able to land and take-off at the scheduled times,” pointed out ACSA chief operating officer (Ms) Fundi Sithebe. “When running an airport, one relatively small problem in one area has the potential to create a knock-on effect across the system. This is why it is key for management of airports to focus closely not only on the major elements of delivering on-time performance, but also on things that are perceived to be trivial.”

The OTP ratings are determined over a rolling 12-month timeframe. To qualify for a rating, all airports and airlines must fulfil two criteria. Each must have at least 600 operations a month and they must supply OAG with flight status information for at least 80% of scheduled flights during the 12 months.

“We have in place good people, good systems and world-class infrastructure,” she highlighted. “We know that it is possible to get to the top and this is what motivates us.”

ACSA is Africa’s largest airport operator, responsible for nine South African airports. In addition to the three already mentioned, these are Bram Fischer International Airport(Bloemfontein), East London AirportGeorge AirportKimberley AirportPort Elizabeth Airport and Upington Airport.

Source: engineeringnews

Uber South Africa has launched its new campaign for the festive season. The campaign, conceptualised by Grey Advertising, was driven by its insights into the South African rider culture.

Kate Owen, SSA strategy and campaign lead, says, “This year’s festive season campaign is driven by our insights into the South African rider culture. Many of our customers don’t rely on public transport alone and often come from households with one or two cars. While the need for Uber over this time of year is clear, we, as South Africans, sometimes find it hard to break old habits.”

Owen adds, “Since the campaign went live on Monday, 13 November, we have had a really positive response. Everyone can identify with these characters and situations.”

The TV and online videos aim to show the relationship people have with their cars, which has seen high engagement in people sharing stories of their own. The billboards and display ads show images that aim to show what freedom looks like from the back seat.

The radio campaign asks listeners to send in their ideas of all the creative things they could get done #InAnUber, that they wouldn’t want to get done in a car. Suggestions have covered everything from getting last Christmas present wrapping done, to playing 30 Seconds. The interactive campaign is supported by adverts that aim to paint a picture of how nightmarish certain situations are with a car.

“Uber is about more than simply getting a ride home, it’s about solving a problem. In the case of the festive season, it’s about giving our riders the freedom they wouldn’t usually have with their cars. By highlighting these challenges, and posing a solution, we are helping South Africans have a smoother, freer festive season,” concludes Owen.

You can view all three campaign ads here.

For more information, visit www.uber.com. Alternatively, connect with them on FacebookTwitter or on Instagram.

Source: mediaupdate

Image source: thesouthafrica

Why Transport Month Matters

We may have forgotten just how vital the transportation sector is to our economy and our growing nation…

Since 2005, South Africa has been celebrating October as Transport Month and 12 years later, we may have forgotten just how vital the transportation sector is to our economy and our growing nation. While there are certainly challenges that need to be addressed, such as the high road death toll during holidays, there is a great deal to be grateful for as we move towards integrating transport systems to provide mobility and accessibility to all South Africans.

Sustainable job creation and skills development

Before the dawn of democracy in 1994, South Africa lacked a reliable public transport system. The only modes of public transport were crowded commuter trains and a handful of minibus taxis.

Now, however, we have a public transport system that caters for millions of commuters, including a world-class, high-speed Gautrain, properly maintained roads, international airports to be proud of and we also have vehicle manufacturing plants that have grown significantly over the years.

Nissan South Africa is one of eight automotive brands manufacturing cars in the country and together, they have invested billions of rands in skills development and plant upgrades which enable the production of high-quality vehicles.

Thousands of jobs have been created over the years and hundreds of people have received training all over the world in an effort to foster ongoing educational opportunities.

The South African government has been incredibly supportive of the automotive industry with programmes such as the Automotive Production and Development Programme and, in turn, the industry has provided opportunities for people from previously disadvantaged communities while also investing in original equipment manufacturers and other entrepreneurs in this sector.

In recent years, the local motoring industry suffered from a critical shortage of good engineers and this hampered carmakers’ ability to achieve their manufacturing goals while continuing to be competitive in a global context.

Nissan SA’s solution was the Nissan Graduate Development Programme, which initially started off with research at Nissan’s plants in Mexico and North America to establish a best-practice model. Since the programme started in 2012, it has produced 53 engineering graduates per year, of which 50% are women. Nissan copied the programmes from its best plants and the results have been very promising because highly qualified engineers, who have valuable hands-on experience, are being produced.

Stimulating the economy

Major transport infrastructure developments cost billions of rands and are often the result of investments being made by both the public and private sectors.

The important aspect of these largescale projects is that they show confidence in South Africa and they stimulate the economy directly through jobs and indirectly through ongoing international investments that ensure new projects are given the green light.

In an effort to support black economic empowerment, Nissan recently introduced onsite suppliers to its Rosslyn plant to reduce logistics time and costs, and in the next few months, Nissan plans to introduce a Nissan Incubation Centre to assist small, black-owned businesses to get into the automotive supply chain.

Upliftment of previously disadvantaged communities

Strategic investments in the transport sector over the years have transformed the quality of life of millions of people who were previously excluded from the economy. Now, there are reliable and safe transportation services that are enabling much-needed socio-economic development.

The government envisions that by 2020, more than 85% of the population of South African cities will be within a kilometre of an integrated rapid public transport network. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and the Tshwane Rapid Transit System are already carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers per week, according to the City of Tshwane.

The long-term plan for the BRT system is for it to cover 330km and to stimulate urban regeneration by bringing underprivileged communities closer to economic opportunities.

Everything from economic growth to social services and personal ease of movement is dependent on transportation, so during this month, take the time to appreciate that we are lucky to live in a country that has grown immensely and that continues to provide opportunities for all South Africans. As a major stakeholder, job creator and innovator in the transport sector, Nissan SA is proud of the country’s achievements and is optimistic about South Africa and Africa’s ability to prosper well into the future.

Via: Nissan South Africa

Source: womenonwheels

Private sector makes first move to build electric vehicle infrastructure in SA

JSE-listed information and communication technology (ICT) group, Alviva Holdings, has, through its subsidiary Solareff, acquired 75% of GridCars, a Pretoria-based startup that focuses on the manufacture of electric vehicle (EV) charge points and back office charge point management systems.

Solareff is a specialist renewable energy solutions company that installs medium- to large-scale rooftop and ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.

“We were looking to expand in the field of green energy and the next step for us was green mobility,” says Solareff MD Jaco Botha.

EVs are zero-emission vehicles. If charged by solar power, they are completely environment-friendly, depending on the manufacturing process at the vehicle plant.

GridCars director Winstone Jordaan will retain 25% shareholding in the company.

He says GridCars can deliver products such as charge points and EV public charging billing systems, as well as the ICT systems related to charging infrastructure.

Real-time interactive eMobility software, for example, allows users to find available charge points and to manage the rates and billing for energy consumed. EV users can also monitor charging sessions, possible costs and charge history.

“These all form part of the back-office services we provide,” notes Jordaan.

“We understand the core technologies and platforms necessary to make an EV network operate efficiently.

“Three industries are in the process of merging very quickly as the use of EVs expand – the ICT, transport and energysectors.”

Jordaan says GridCars, as a startup, was too small to convince vehicle manufacturers that it could provide the comprehensive services required to implement EV charging infrastructure in South Africa.

The Solareff investment, however, serves as a significant boost to the GridCars balance sheet.

“Our aim is to give GridCars the critical mass to scale up quickly,” notes Botha.

GridCars will, under the wing of Solareff, look at rolling out EV charging infrastructure across South Africa – at a pace relative to the introduction of EVs to the local market – with the option of solar power as the energy source whenever possible and desirable, he says.

“We will look at developing our own charging network, while also developing charging networks for clients, such as property developers, fuel stations and home owners.”

Jordaan says the investment will, for example, allow GridCars to carry greater stock, ensuring availability of charge points on a short turnaround time.

“We will also be seeking incentives from government as we roll out the network.”

There are currently around 100 EV charging points in South Africa, largely at dealerships, the homes of EV owners and selected retail developments. (See evcharging.co.za) Almost all of these are managed by GridCars.

There are two EVs available in South Africa, namely the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3. Other vehicles also requiring charging includes the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid.

Audi plans to introduce its first EV in South Africa in 2019, with Jaguar to also do so by the end of 2018, or the start of 2019.

“There are currently around 2 500 plug-in vehicles in South Africa, of which 600 are EVs,” says Jordaan.

GridCars can provide two types of charging technologies – AC and DC.

DC charging systems are normally associated with fast-charging, and are traditionally also more expensive than AC charging systems.

GridCars has locally developed AC charging systemsavailable. The current DC system on offer is imported, but Jordaan is pursuing a partnership agreement that could secure 50% local content on the system.

“We can fully support the infrastructure we put in place. There is no need to rely on overseas expertise,” says Jordaan.

“Our system also adheres to all the necessary ISO-standards.”

GridCars’ infrastructure can also accommodate both charging connectors, namely type 1 and type 2, as used by various vehicle manufacturers.

Source: engineeringnews

Air transport supports 490,000 jobs and contributes $12bn in GDP for SA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new data showing that the air transport sector in South Africa provides immense value to the people and economy of the country supporting some 490,000 jobs including tourism-related employment and contributing $12 billion or 3.5% to the country’s GDP.

These findings are among the highlights of ‘The Importance of Air Transport to South Africa’ study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of IATA.

“The study confirms the vital role of air transport in facilitating over $110 billion in exports, some $140 billion in foreign direct investment and around $9.2 billion in inbound leisure and business tourism for South Africa. With the country now in a recession it’s time to re-double efforts to promote South Africa as a destination for business, trade and tourism,” said Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa, who is making his first visit to Africa in his new capacity.

According to executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum for the study, South Africa’s transport infrastructure quality score places the country 1st out of 37 African countries surveyedand 48th globally

South Africa ranks 19th out of 37 African countries for visa openness

It ranks 17th out of 37 for cost competitiveness in the air transport industry, based on air ticket taxes, airport charges and VAT

Around 390,000 aircraft land and take off from one of South Africa’s main airports every year. Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport is the country’s busiest in terms of passengers with over 18.5 million travellers passing through the airport in 2014.

“Affordable, safe and reliable air transport is crucial to economic growth. It promotes skills development and is a catalyst for jobs. We urge the South African Government to remove any impediments, including unnecessary red-tape and policies that hinder air connectivity and the trade, investment, tourism and job opportunities it facilitates and stimulates,” added Albakri.

During his visit to Johannesburg, Mr. Albakri is meeting key industry stakeholders from South Africa’s government, the South African Civil Aviation Authority, Airports Company South Africa, Air Traffic Navigation Services, IATA member airlines in the country and IATA’s sub-regional sister organization, the Airlines’ Association of Southern Africa.

Source: defenceweb

BMW just unveiled the sleek electric motorcycle of the future

Ready to commute in style? BMW just unveiled a futuristic, zero-emission motorbike at the Concorso D’eleganza Villa D’este, showing us what the motorcycle of the future looks like. Modeled after the BMW Motoradd Vision Next 100, the design is both sleek and functional and is perfect for those who want to get around in urban settings in a sustainable way.

The BMW Motorrad Concept Link may look like a scooter, but it is anything but. The motorbike has a low-slung, stretched body with a flat seat and, according to the company, “is ideally suited to meet the requirements of modern urban mobility with fast acceleration and easy handling.”

Getting on the electric bike is easy due to its low overall height. Additionally, a reverse gear ensures it is easy to maneuver and park in tight city spaces. Clear lines, large-area surfaces, and precise shapes play a part in emphasizing the bike’s state-of-the-art look. All colors are oriented diagonally to underline the dynamic potential of the ride. A touch of futurism is added to the bike with iconic LEC front lights, a clear-cut layout, and slim contours.

A feature that sets the BMW Motorrad Concept Link apart from other motorbikes is the fact that information such as speed, remaining charge, and navigation information is projected right onto the windscreen. If one desires, they can swap out the windscreen for alternate versions with different options. There is also a secondary display below the handlebars that offers touchscreen input. The handlebars also have built-in touch sensitive controls that ensure easy access to favorite features while commuting.

BMW also included a design for rider equipment, that includes a lightweight jacket with hidden protection. Because motion controls have been built in, a wave of one’s arm can open the sliding door underneath the seat which leads to a storage compartment.
Said Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design of BMW Motorrad, “The BMW Motorrad Concept Link stands for a new understanding of urban mobility. It links the digital and analogue world and places the focus on the rider and his mobility needs. In the way it links functionality and digitalisation it performs both as a means of transport as well as a communication device. For me the BMW Motorrad Concept Link, with its timeless and reduced style, is more than a concept – it is rather a symbol for a new era.”
“The BMW Motorrad Concept Link is not based on today’s concepts, but rather meets the basic functionality needs, the technical architecture and the digital reality of today’s users. The technical realities of electric drive – such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive on the rear wheel – allowed us to create a highly distinctive design which shapes a new segment. The resulting expressive power of the vehicle is absolutely new for BMW Motorrad and breaks with all conventional viewing patterns,” added Alexander Buckan, Head of Vehicle Design at BMW Motorrad.
Source: inhabitat

Drones and driverless trucks: can Australian truckies stave off job threat?

Experts predict autonomous vehicles will save money and lives but drivers say human knowledge and experience are irreplaceable

Frank Black has a simple message for those who predict truckies like him are done for thanks to the arrival of self-driving vehicles: good luck getting tech support in the outback.

For more than 30 years the Brisbane truck driver has hauled goods across the vast expanses of Australia, keeping watch for fast-bouncing kangaroos, felled eucalyptus trees, and other natural obstacles littering remote highways that can run for thousands of kilometres without a single bend.

Morgan Stanley might have forecast that freight operators could save $168bn a year by replacing humans with vehicles that drive themselves with no need for toilet breaks or sleep, and Uber last year may have bought an automated truck firm with the intention to roll out a global service, but Black remains at ease with his job security.

He predicts any freight companies that go down that road in Australia will find their expensive automated vehicles stuck out in the middle of nowhere, awkwardly parked in front of an obstacle that requires human ingenuity to work around.

“The conditions of the road out there, you’ve got to have your wits about you,” he says. “An automated truck would probably have a hissy fit, where a human would realise, ‘OK, I might have to detour off-road into the gully to get around it.’

“Truckies can use their sense of smell, too. If the engine starts to get hot, you can smell the coolant and go, ‘Hang on, something’s going on here,’ [and] pull over before something catastrophic happens.”

The harsh conditions faced by truckers on the job might seem to Black an argument for retaining human imagination but to proponents of automated vehicles they are a case for the opposite: machine intelligence immune to the fallibilities of drivers who routinely make deadly fatigue-related mistakes or resort to amphetamines to stay alert.

It is a theory that has been put into practice in Australia: Rio Tinto has been relying on a fleet of driverless trucks at its iron ore mines in the Pilbara for years, yielding performance improvements of 12%.

A PWC study in 2015 predicted an 80% chance that Australia’s 94,946 professional drivers of road and rail vehicles would be replaced by automation in the next two decades. The prospect has union officials extremely concerned.

The Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, warns that freight operators need to be “careful not to get carried away with the Jetsons”, arguing that trucks driving themselves in a controlled environment like a mine is one thing, but that significant improvements would need to be made to the technology and to smart road infrastructure before such vehicles could zoom unattended through cities and towns.

He references Fiat Chrysler’s recall this month of 1.2m trucks owing to software vulnerability to being hacked as an example of the kind of dangers that would be exacerbated by self-driving freight.

“There is a serious question about the capacity for this technology to be hijacked by terrorism or some random lunatic,” he says.

“These aren’t washing machines we are talking about. These are machines carting thousands of litres of fuel, tens of tonnes worth of product that could plough through a house.”

The chair of the Australian Trucking Association, Geoff Crouch, concedes the transition to self-driving vehicles “won’t occur in one leap”. Instead he describes a gradual process starting with the autonomous braking technology being rolled out across the industry, and a trial this year in Western Australia of “platooning”, which would see the lead truck in a convoy control the others through vehicle-to-vehicle communication to synchronise speed and braking.

“There will be drivers in the cabs of our trucks for many years to come,” he says.

“The immediately foreseeable future of truck automation won’t involve replacing drivers anyway, and our road network requires considerable work before even current technologies become usable everywhere. In addition, truck drivers carry out a host of other essential tasks, including loading and unloading, checking vehicles and working with customers.”

Crouch says the transition will be one of the talking points at the Trucking Australia 2017 conference in Darwin in June.

Brendan Richards, a partner at the corporate restructuring firm Ferrier Hodgson, will speak there on disruptive technologies.

Richards’ talk will cover a broad range of changes he believes will impact on the freight sector by 2050.

In terms of autonomous vehicles, he predicts self-navigating drones of all shapes and forms will open up routes previously inaccessible to human drivers.

He can foresee an operating system that would run the network, optimising routes and the flow of goods through the system.

Richards also forecasts that drones will be better equipped to provide a nimbler freight service that no longer needs to move bulk goods around, as most things will be produced on-site by 3D printers that only require the delivery of raw materials.

If self-driving vehicles – whether that is lumbering autonomous trucks driving for days without rest or airborne drones zipping across the skies – do push human drivers into unemployment queues, unions want compensation.

Sheldon says the vast numbers of jobs predicted for the scrapheap because of automation require a serious rethinking of how society approaches work.

“When I was a garbo, I was replaced by vehicles that had arms,” he says. “It was hard seeing mates displaced by technology in their 30s and 40s. It was a dramatic, traumatic experience – and there were still plenty of other jobs back then.”

In the case of truckers, he suggests a licensing fee be paid by those replacing humans with self-driving vehicles, to go towards those displaced by the new technology.

It will be hard work persuading truckies like Black to relinquish the wheel, however. He is not even open to a transition period of self-driving technology working in tandem with human operators.

“There’d be no way you’d put me in a vehicle without putting me in control of it,” he says.

“Even in the case of trusting another person, I’d want to get to know them first before going great distances with them. Believe it or not, there are bad human drivers out there too. They should look at better driver training, not these driverless bloody things.”

Source: theguardian

South Africa: Transnet seeks private sector investment

The privatisation of the country’s ports, railways, roads and other transport infrastructure has proved a thorny issue in South Africa over many years. Attempts to encourage private sector operation have generally produced a great deal of opposition.

Transnet’s proposals, therefore, carry political connotations. Yet at a time when the parastatal is being asked to do more and more but government finances are weak, it may have more success in gaining official backing for its policy.

In addition, its revenues have been affected by a three-year downturn in the price of the main dry bulk commodities it carries: coal and iron ore. Prices may have recovered somewhat but the outlook is still uncertain. Transnet is certainly one of the biggest companies on the African continent, although it is difficult to make a precise comparison because it is entirely state owned.

It is important to remember that one of the country’s biggest port facilities is already privately owned. Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) is owned by some of South Africa’s biggest coal mining companies, with smaller stakes held by empowerment interests.

Private sector companies also provide a wide range of logistics services, with Grindrod, in particular, developing a network covering the whole country and beyond. Grindrod is also expanding its own coal terminal at Richards Bay.

Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama first announced the policy at the eThekwini Maritime Cluster’s annual maritime summit in Durban in early April and the approach has been fleshed out since then. Gama said that the country needs R400bn ($30.25bn) in new logistics infrastructure but Transnet was unable to pay for it alone, so at least 25% should come from the private sector, which he believed had the required capital at its disposal.

Transnet has been criticised in recent years for its high port charges in comparison with many other countries around the world. However, Gama says that his company merely prices according to market conditions, while many other ports benefit from government subsidies. Indeed, according to the World Bank Global Logistics Competitiveness Report, South Africa is regarded as more competitive than China, India, Russia or Brazil.

Focus on Durban

By far the biggest planned Transnet project is the construction of a brand new container port on the site of the old Durban International Airport, about 25km south of Durban. However, given current financial constraints and lower than expected trade volumes, there is no fixed timetable for its development. At present, Transnet is focusing on improving its infrastructure elsewhere.

Work will begin this year on deepening three berths at Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 from 12.8 metres to 16.5 metres. This will allow access for the new generation of Super Post Panamax vessels at low tide as well as high tide.

The chief executive of TNPA, Richard Vallihu, said: “The continued investment in infrastructure and modernisation of our flagship Port of Durban is pivotal in meeting the ever increasing demands of the maritime industry, in particular, the ever increasing size of container vessels pulling into our ports.”

Appointment system

The company is also seeking to improve the efficiency of its operations in ways that do not require capital outlay. For instance, at the start of April it introduced an appointment system for the delivery of containers at Durban’s Pier 1.

Haulage companies are required to book a slot for delivery in order to spread activity over the course of the week, avoid congestion and reduce allegations that drivers pay bribes to avoid the queues that build up at peak times. Transnet has set a goal of ensuring that all trucks are processed within 35 minutes.

Some freight forwarders oppose the policy, arguing that they cannot be so precise as they are subject to delays from their own customers. Transnet Port Terminals’ general manager for container operations in KwaZulu-Natal, Julani Dube, said: “We have done the necessary research and tracked all movements and transactions over the past year to know where the problems are and what is realistically achievable if we get the necessary buy-in from stakeholders to implement the container appointment system.”

Source: africanbusinessmagazine

Transport commits to improving lives of South Africans

The Department of Transport says it will dedicate its programmes towards the upliftment of South Africans.

“Our people yearned for better infrastructure, particularly road and public transport infrastructure, which is the backbone of economic development towards total emancipation of any community,” said newly appointed Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi.

The Minister was addressing a media briefing, in Pretoria on Monday, where he outlined his immediate programme of action on key transport strategic areas.

“The message we want to send out is that: we are ready, willing and able to make a difference in the lives of our people.

“Guided by the National Development Plan 2030, we are continuing to build a South Africa that must be free from poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Minister Maswanganyi said.

Moloto Road

He said the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) is continuing with the planning phase of the R4.5 billion project to upgrade the current Moloto Road.

“The Moloto Road is currently under construction with the purpose of ensuring the safety of road users and also bring to an end the accidents that claim many lives,” Minister Maswanganyi said.

In 2016, South Africa signed a cooperation agreement with China to build the Moloto Rail Development Corridor.

E-tolls

He said he will engage will all relevant stakeholders on the contentious issues of e-Tolling as he is aware of the concerns that have been raised regarding the funding of the road infrastructure.

“We want to assure the nation that we are a government that listens,” Minister Maswanganyi said.

Seamless transition

The Minister has met with the senior management of his department in order to ensure that there is a seamless transition and continuation in rendering services to the people of South Africa.

“Later today I will be continuing with my consultations to meet the chairpersons and CEOs of our state owned entities (SOEs).

“Our SOEs play an important role in the implementation of the mandate of the department in particular and of government in general,” Minister Maswanganyi said.

Source: news24

Mobility Vision

Gauteng-based transport economist Andrew Marsay earlier in February detailed his vision for a high-density, high-value public transport system in South Africa, delivered in a presentation at the i-Transport and UATP conference, held in Sandton. Engineering News senior deputy editor Irma Venter asked him about the transformation his vision requires.

You believe that a high-density, high-value public transport system is the best answer for South Africa. What does this system entail?

In order to allow more people from more parts of Gauteng to participate effectively in the modern economy, existing and emerging higher-density, high-value nodes need to be efficiently linked with the main existing, and emerging, residential nodes.

Current public transport modes, and routes, tend to serve historic arrangements of ferrying people from townships to industrial areas and older employment nodes. Their inherited spatial footprint means that they cannot perform this linking function.

Only higher-quality modes such as modern regional rail (like the Gautrain) have a strong enough impact on travel pattern sand spatial development trends to achieve the beneficial impact of improved accessibility to the modern economy.

Even though the cost is higher, the benefit equation is much better than when investing in existing modes that do not achieve this purpose. This is because they add urban economic efficiency gains to conventional transport economic benefits.

In working towards this system, you have identified two weak points, with nontolled freeways being the first. Why is this hampering pubic transportdevelopment?

Freeways encourage the use of cars and also consolidate low-density development patterns that, in the long-term, reduce urban economic efficiency.

Freeways that are ‘free at the point of use’ – untolled – exacerbate this effect. While beneficial for the motorised sections of the community, keeping commuter freeways free at the point of use undermines efforts to improve public transport.

It also diverts public money that could otherwise be spent on new, improved high-quality public transport systems.

As such, untolled freeways are contrary to national, provincial and metropolitan transport policies that all call for the prioritisation of public transport investment over road investment.

The second weak point you identified is the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), despite the multibillion- rand recapitalisation project at Metrorail. Why so?

PRASA tends to prioritise capital spending over operational efficiency improvements.

It is investing in rolling stock and infrastructure improvements, but ignoring the reality that its inefficient, nonmarket-orientated operating model is seeing commuter rail’s market share bleed away.

This wrong prioritisation is a direct consequence of an industry structure that confuses public-sector control with public benefit.

Notwithstanding this, a short window of opportunity exists for linking some PRASA routes with current and hopefully also future modern rapid rail services.

This could be done either by building additional rapid railroutes using PRASA’s Cape gauge, or by building links between some existing PRASA routes and interchange stations on existing and future rapid rail routes. But the very minimum conditions for this idea to be useful will be for PRASA to invite operating support from known, successful rail operators and to have consolidated service management arrangements with the modern rapid rail system.

What should the role of minibus taxis be in a high-density, high-value public transport model?

The minibus-taxi mode is well suited to our current low-density environment.

Because the industry is privately operated, it adapts well to changing development trends.

Whether we go for higher-density, higher- value economic development based on a more extensive network of modern public transport modes, or resign ourselves to low-density inefficiency, the minibus-taxi industry will continue serving the large spaces that will always exist between formal public transport routes.

You mentioned the need to build a new consensus around an ‘urban economic- efficiency-based future’ for Gauteng. What do you mean?

Unlike in the early 2000s, when the Gauteng economy was growing at 8% a year, we now have slow growth and a tendency for stakeholders to withdraw into the safety of their ideological shells.

Yet, if ever there was a time for the ‘deideologisation’ of decision-making, in transport especially, it is now. Decisions taken, postponed or simply avoided now will affect our future for better or worse for decades to come.

The most likely scenario for the future is always the one of least resistance. In transport terms, this would mean my ‘go with the flow’ scenario that accepts low urban density, low economic growth and low transport quality as inevitable.

The outcome will be a low-grade form of social equity that some might call mediocrity.

But, with careful choices of the battles to be fought, the alliances to be struck and the emphases to be made, a much brighter urban future could be achieved – the urban economic efficiency scenario of which I have spoken.

Achieving this will require:

• Proactive engagement between provincial and metropolitan transport authorities to determine which transport modes are the best catalysts for such a future – and which are merely supportive of incremental development.
• PRASA to invite international best practice assistance with operations management.
• Revisiting the metropolitan freeway tolling issue within the broader context of integrated transport planning, with explicit links between toll compliance levels and public transport funding.

To achieve consensus of this nature among all transport stakeholders, there must be calls for the use of a multicriteria decision-making matrix in which all, including civil society, participate in order to arrive at an outcome that all can own.

Source: engineeringnews