We’re in Singapore at the World Cities Summit 2012. Here we look at how absolutely vital it is for Joburg to adopt a public transport oriented attitude.
Here, I knew that Jozi, which is only just waking up to the notion of predictable, consistent and wide-reaching public transport, would likely fall short of best practice, but was interested to learn what other cities have done in this regard.
And guess what, car-besotted Joburgers, it’s all about public transport, bicycles, and walking. The experts were unanimous that, in the city of the future, the private vehicle must increasingly become a thing of the past.So seriously do they take this notion that the chief economist of the World Bank’s Asia region indicated that the Bank considers the inevitable decline of the automobile industry as one of the biggest economic challenges to be faced by the global private sector over the medium term.
It appears that cities accross the globe are waking up to the notion that traffic jams, pollution, accident costs, commuting time and the like are environmentally unsustainable, undermine economic growth and are making cities less competitive.Accordingly, they are taking increasingly bold steps to get people out of their cars and into other forms of mobility. I won’t go into detail, but some of these measures make Gauteng tolls seem like a Sunday afternoon picnic (ed: particularly when considering that the Gauteng tolls aim to enhance car usage, and not discourage)
Apart from the massive amount of work that our authorities clearly have to do in order to get public transport to a level where a differently mobile Joburg is a realistic option (which is not to discount the massive steps that they have taken towards this in recent years), the obvious question is what will it take for Joburgers, with our perverse love for our SUVs, to smell the coffee and look at what is staring us in the face? Time, one supposes, will tell. But time is running out…
So, Joburgers, what will it take?