The City of Johannesburg has taken a firm decision to move towards a greener future. At the core of this shift is the provision of public infrastructure to make public transport, walking and cycling easier, safer and more accessible.
The initial steps to provide citizens of the ‘world-class African city’ with efficient and accessible public transport have already been taken:
- The Corridors of Freedom is a broad vision to move away from the city’s apartheid past and to create cohesive and integrated communities based on modern spatial planning. Future development will be focused along well-planned transport arteries that connect high-activity nodes. Clinics, government services, police stations and schools will be located in these nodes, together with parks and green spaces, retail opportunities and medium density residential development. The bulk of facilities and services will be within walking or cycling distances, or reachable through public transport, and reduce the need to use private vehicles.
- Rea Vaya is the City’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that is being rolled-out since 2007. The completed system will cover 330 kilometres and allow more than 80% of Joburgers to take a bus rather than rely on private transport. Two trunk routes are already operational and construction on the route linking the Johannesburg CBD with the northern suburbs, including Sandton is under construction. Already more than 40 000 passenger travel on the Rea Vaya network every day.
- The City’s Metrobus fleet is being converted to run on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel. A new fleet of 70 eco-friendly buses was introduced in July 2015. Transport is the source of 73% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Johannesburg. By switching to low-emission fuels for the buses, and converting a large portion of its vehicle fleet, the City is taking an important step to shift to a low carbon economy, as envisaged in its 2040 Growth and Development Strategy.
- The City has started with the roll-out of high-quality cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. Some five kilometres of dedicated cycle lanes are already in place in Orlando. Similar safe facilities are almost complete between Ellis Park and Sophiatown along a ‘university corridor’ that runs past the Universities of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand. Future road and transport planning in Orange Farm and Ivory Park all include the addition of cycle lanes and upgraded pedestrian side-walks while a 20km network of cycle routes has been designed for the Rosebank and Sandton areas.
- Public Transport Interchanges are being built at strategic locations where commuters can switch from the Gautrain high-speed rail network, to passenger rail, to buses, walking and cycling. This seamless integration between different modes will encourage residents to switch to public transport and away from private vehicle use.