n Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Articulated density - a study of its potential effects on the financial sustainability of South African BRT corridors : transportation engineering

Volume 23, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



Many cities in the 'global south' face mounting pressures from rapid urbanisation, population growth and rising income inequality. The successful integration of public transport and land development planning is likely to be central in determining how effectively these cities manage these pressures. Some research - associated with the advent of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems - into how best to integrate public transport and land development planning has been undertaken in Latin America and Asia. While a number of sub-Saharan African cities, particularly in South Africa, have commenced large-scale public transport reform, little research has been undertaken to date on appropriate public transport / land use integration in these contexts. The initial phases of BRT corridor implementation in South African cities have highlighted the importance of supportive urban forms in facilitating public transport services that are not dependent on unsustainable operating subsidies. The City of Cape Town's latest review of its Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan (CITP), for instance, states that "â?¦ the operational requirements to run road-based public transport at the levels of service required by the CITP 2013-2018, in the current urban form of Cape Town, are proving to be financially unsustainable and could lead to significant long-term implications for the future roll-out of road based public transport... Dispersed urban form leads to passenger numbers being low along many routes, resulting in demand best met by small vehicle sizes and longer head ways." (CCT 2014) The City of Johannesburg has come to similar conclusions in its Rea Vaya Phase 1C Sustainability Study (CoJ 2013). Clearly a better understanding of the prerequisite land use conditions for high-quality BRT systems is required, and technology choices should be made with due regard to the prevailing urban form (Del Mistro & Bruun 2012). Population density has been widely accepted by South African city planning authorities as an important land use prerequisite,resulting in the formulation of density targets and densification policies. However, the effects associated with the spatial distribution of this density on the viability of adjacent public transport services has not been investigated.

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