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MyCiTi lauded as transport leader

The MyCiTi bus network has been lauded as a leader in the field of African public transport systems.

That accolade came from the Siemens African Green City Index – an independent survey that rated as “above average” the City of Cape Town’s performances of its responsibilities in land use practices, waste management (including reducing, re-using and recycling waste), environmental governance, air quality and water.

“The City of Cape Town welcomes the findings of an independent survey which has recognised the city’s MyCiTi bus network as a leader in the field of African public transport systems,” said Mayco member for transport Brett Heron.

“As a result, Cape Town is among the top cities in the index for the length of superior forms of transport such as Metro or BRT lines. The continued expansion of this network is crucial to both the empowerment of previously disadvantaged communities and to ease the pressures brought by rapid urban development.”

The report says of the MyCiti system: “The city’s performance in this category is bolstered by policies aimed at encouraging commuters to take greener forms of transport and by the existence of dedicated mass transport lanes.”

The report lauds the city’s measures to contain urban sprawl and the balance that it is seeking between necessary urban development and sustainability best practice, said Herron.

“Over the years, the city has invested more than R250 million in 68 public spaces in an effort to create innovative and inclusive community-friendly areas. The city’s previously disadvantaged communities have been the recipients of the majority of this investment,” Herron said.

“More than R35 million has been earmarked for the public urban space programme in the next two years. This will include the commencement of projects such as the upgrades to the Pavilion Precinct in Strand, the Pampoenkraal heritage site in Durbanville and the Langa Station southern forecourt.”

Source: IOL


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South Africa to Review E-Toll Funding Model for Gauteng Province

South Africa will review the payment options recommended to finance the upgrade of highways in Gauteng province after opposition from unions and motorists.

A report, released today by Premier David Makhura, found that in its current form the e-toll system is not affordable and places a burden on middle-to-low income households. “The primary recommendation is that the current system must be reviewed on equity, sustainability and affordability,” Makhura told reporters in Johannesburg.

The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd. has at least 33.1 billion rand ($2.9 billion) of principal debt outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its projects include the improvement of highways in Gauteng, the nation’s most populous province that includes Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria. As much as 60 percent is backed by the government.

An electronic tolling system, which operates under a “user pay” principle, was implemented in December 2013 and has been opposed by labor unions, car rental companies and motorists who refuse to pay, with some burning e-toll tracker tags in protest.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading the national government’s participation in the consultations with other stakeholders, according to Makhura.

“Consultations into the recommendations and looking into a funding model that is affordable, sustainable and equitable will be finalized in February,” Makhura said. “As we are finding appropriate responses to the issues that were raised on the e-tolls, which have been identified as valid, people must continue paying their e-tolls.”

Source: Bloomberg


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This is motoring’s future, says Ford

Ford is taking a joined-up approach to examining the issues of future individual mobility, assessing the benefits of active safety and fully autonomous driving systems and understanding how systems can work together for the greater good.

At the 2015 International CES where the company’s CEO Mark Fields gave a keynote address, rather than simply promoting its latest in-car technology, Fields talked about innovation with a higher purpose and detailed 25 different global mobility experiments the company is currently undertaking to understand what the transport ecosystem of tomorrow will look like.

“Even as we showcase connected cars and share our plans for autonomous vehicles, we are here at CES with a higher purpose,” said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. “We are driving innovation in every part of our business to be both a product and mobility company — and, ultimately, to change the way the world moves just as our founder Henry Ford did 111 years ago.”

Under the unifying banner of Ford Smart Mobility, the experiments — eight in North America, nine in Europe and Africa, seven in Asia and one in South America — are attempting to understand four global mega-trends: exploding population growth; an expanding middle-class; air quality and public health concerns; and changing consumer priorities in terms of urban living and mobility.

“We see a world where vehicles talk to one another, drivers and vehicles communicate with the city infrastructure to relieve congestion, and people routinely share vehicles or multiple forms of transportation for their daily commute,” Fields said. “The experiments we’re undertaking today will lead to an all-new model of transportation and mobility within the next 10 years and beyond.”

In 11 of the experiments, Ford invited developers and innovators from around the world to try and solve a specific mobility problem; for example, identifying available parking spaces in city centres or the use of navigation systems to help people gain healthcare access in remote regions.

As for self-driving cars, Ford confirmed that it is taking the concept very seriously with the ultimate aim of bringing an autonomous car to market that is affordable: “Our priority is not in making marketing claims or being in a race for the first autonomous car on the road,” Fields said. “Our priority is in making the first Ford autonomous vehicle accessible to the masses and truly enhancing customers’ lives.

Ford has a fully autonomous research vehicle that is currently being put through testing which, according to the company’s chief technical officer and group vice president, Global Product Development, Raj Nair, builds on technologies already available on Ford’s latest cars, such as pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.

“We’re already manufacturing and selling semi-autonomous vehicles that use software and sensors to steer into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, adjust speed based on traffic flow or apply the brakes in an emergency,” Nair said. “There will be a Ford autonomous vehicle in the future, and we take putting one on the road very seriously.”

Source: iAfrica

Image: Ford CEO Mark Fields. Credit: AFP-Relaxnews