Johannesburg – Finding parking in shrinking urban spaces that have to deal with a huge influx of motor vehicles is frustrating for commuters who still commute to work in their privately owned cars. However, that may change soon as more and more commuters transition to more sustainable ways of commuting.
The EcoMobility festival, ending this week, has given South Africans a preview of what a future in which they commute to work in different modes may look like.
Karthi Pillay, Deloitte Africa Manufacturing and Automotive Leader, said the festival had shown that building sustainable cities that have an integrated public transport in South Africa was possible.
The glimpse into a sustainable, ecomobile future included walking, cycling and making use of electric bicycles and cars, even sharing driverless cars which commuters did not necessarily own. Cycle lanes are soon set to be integrated into the Sandton business precinct.
Pillay noted Sandton was selected to host the festival due to the increasing number of commuters entering the precinct. The number of commuters to the area had increased at an annual rate of 3,4% per year, and it was projected that the numbers of commuters to the area would continue to grow at around 3% per year.
EcoMobility had shown that while the technology exists, changing perceptions from using a privately owned car to public transport would take some time, especially as there was room for improvement in the public transport sector, particularly in terms of infrastructure.
The change, Pillay noted, would also require new thinking around crime and using public transport as new ways of reducing crime were looked at and as more commuters began to use their smartphones to book public transport services online.
Pillay believed South Africa was ready to embrace a shift towards ecomobility, but that this change would require “a massive mindshift, both by auto industry – whether it be auto manufacturing, insurance, financing or fuel – and by consumers”