Gauteng — Transport is the backbone of Johannesburg’s economy and plays a significant role in connecting the historically displaced communities of the metropolis. In light of this, the City aims to provide better public transport networks and reduce congestion on public roads in an effort to keep carbon emissions as low as possible.
This as Joburg gears up to host the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit from 4 to 6 February 2014,
One of Joburg’s prime transport infrastructure projects is the Rea Vaya bus rapid transport system. Rea Vaya means ‘we are going’. It offers a safe and affordable public transport network integrated with the Gautrain, Metrorail, bus routes, pedestrian corridors, and taxis across Joburg. Rea Vaya is the single largest climate change initiative ever undertaken by the City and represents a major turning point in how it deals with congestion, pollution and green house gases (GHG) caused by transportation.
“A crucial element of the Rea Vaya project is the reduction of Joburg’s public transport carbon footprint. If only 15% of car users, who live close to the City switch to Rea Vaya, CO2 emissions can be cut by 1,6 million tons by 2020” says Executive Mayor of Johannesburg. Councillor Mpho, Parks Tau.
The Rea Vaya will eventually run along 330km of dedicated routes with modern fleet busses. This will allow more than 80% of Joburg’s residents to catch a bus, placing residents within 500m of a trunk route or feeder corridor. Running on low-sulphur diesel with the most advanced pollution reduction equipment, the Rea Vaya buses are the cleanest on the continent. They reduce nitrous oxides (the most dangerous health risk from vehicular emissions) by thousands of tons a year, and particulate matter by hundreds of tons annually.
Over and above Rea Vaya, the City is also aiming to replace more than one third of its Metrobus fleet with modern, low-fluor and dual fuel green buses. A tender has already been issued for this project. This will not only advance the City’s low carbon economy agenda but it will also create jobs. Furthermore, a progressive initiative by the city is the conversion of non-specialised Group Corporate and Shared Services to become green modes of transport. A pilot project is being run, focusing on the inner city and linking to the Joburg Market Biogas Project (that is being developed). The City is also in the process of developing the Metrobus Gas refuelling station.
It is Joburg’s intention to become a world leader in green transport and to focus on the following aspects of the green transport value chain:
The development and commercialisation of the following biogas feed stocks for transport applications: biocrops and waste resources such as green waste, domestic waste, waste oils and waste water;Energy efficient technology development, production, implementation and maintenance including as fuel filters, gas conversion kits for vehicles, fuel additives etc. for both public transport and private vehicle sectors;Skills development for the alternative fuel transport sector.Infrastructure development in terms of alternative fuel supply, distribution and dispensing
Besides contributing to the green economy, these transportation greening initiatives will potentially create strong and sustainable new employment and income generating opportunities.
The City is encouraging citizens to switch their mode of transport, thereby alleviating congestion and pollution. Car users should try to shift to different energy sources for vehicles in working towards improving air quality and reducing GHG emissions.
“Doing this can also contribute to the green economy and create strong and sustainable new employment and income generating opportunities. The choices we make today will determine the future of our city, country and planet,” says Mayor Tau.