Impact of Urban Policy on Public Transportation in Gauteng, South Africa: Smart or Dumb City Systems Is the Question

Walter Musakwa and Trynos Gumbo

Abstract Policy on public transport often directs where infrastructure and investment is directed. Currently, the discourse is towards transport infrastructure investments that facilitate the attainment of the so-called smart city and smart mobility status. This status is often seen as the panacea towards all the public transport problems that among others include traffic congestion and unreliability. This chapter grapples with the question; to what extent have the urban planning policies in South Africa and Gauteng province been instrumental in the pursuit of efficient, effective and responsive public transport systems? Have the transport systems led to either smart or dumb city systems. The Gauteng province has put in place policies such as the Gauteng 25 year integrated master plan (ITMP 25) that has a vision to better the lives of Gauteng residents through the establishment of a smart and efficient public transport system. The ITMP 25 also seeks to attract foreign investments and boost tourism through land use densification that supports the use and efficiency of public transport systems. The policy also aims to reinforce the passenger rail-network as the backbone of the public transport system in Gauteng, and to extend the integrated rapid and road-based public transport networks that assist to strengthen freight hubs; thus ensuring effective travel demand management and mainstreaming non-motorized transport. As a result, Gauteng has invested in bus rapid infrastructure (Reya-Vaya within the City of Johannesburg, the Gautrain which is a high-speed rail network that caters for all three metro municipalities) and investments in non-motorized transport lanes in Johannesburg. The study applies smart city and smart mobility indicators to determine the level of smartness of the Reya Vaya, Gautarin and cycling infrastructure. The results indicate a steady uptake in public transport and use of cycling as a means of transport as well as a paradigm shift towards smart mobility by Johannesburg and

W. Musakwa (H) • T. Gumbo

Town and Regional Planning Department, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

T. Gumbo

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017 339

R. Alvarez Fernandez et al. (eds.), Carbon Footprint and the Industrial Life Cycle,

Green Energy and Technology, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-54984-2_16

Gauteng residents. Nevertheless, this has yielded unintended consequences such as the reinforcement of spatial segregation and inadequate use of new transport infrastructure. Parts of the challenges are a direct result of weak policy formulation and implementation strategies at both national and provincial levels as well as a deep culture that prefers private automobiles to public transport. There is therefore need to improve transportation policy and promote evidence based transportation policy.

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