by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa must implement policies and strategies which make intelligent use of technology and data to create integrated transport systems which serve the needs of all the people.
Experts believe this will solve prevailing problems in the transport sector.
That was the overriding message from an online webinar hosted by the Transport Forum recently.
The country faces ageing rail infrastructure, which has been targeted by criminal elements.
The legacy of apartheid spatial planning also means that many of the country’s poorest people are either underserved or completely underserved by any form of subsidised public transport.
Eventually, people in these areas are overly reliant on commuter buses and minibus taxis, which are used by approximately 80 percent of public transport commuters in the country.
“Transport authorities have always faced the challenge of addressing mobility,” said Jack van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer of the Transport Authority of Gauteng (TAG).
“Over the past few years, however, that challenge has evolved, particularly when it comes to achieving it while taking environmental-, workforce-, and COVID-19 challenges into account.”
Van der Merwe said the only way to address these challenges was through smart mobility.
“That involves bringing together new vehicle technologies, intelligent transport systems, real-time data, and new mobility services such as car-sharing; new biking systems; and non-motorised transport,” he said.
This is also reflected in the Strategic direction of the provincial government’s Growing Gauteng Together 2030 (GGT2030) through Smart Mobility.
Tomhas Snyman, ITS Industry Expert at Huawei, said achieving this kind of smart mobility is dependent on a solid bedrock of connected networking technology.
“When we start talking about technology in any sector, it’s important to talk about how it helps in achieving the end business goal,” he says.
“In the case of transport, smart systems and technology are an enabler at all levels,” Snyman said.
He said increased levels of connectivity would also allow for technologies such as edge computing, software-based CCTV cameras, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to further improve the public transport experience.
“The digital world and platforms will enable public transport to better serve a population of connected commuters. It will provide them with a safer, more efficient, and enjoyable experience. In South Africa that could prove critical,” Snyman concluded.
– CAJ News