role of cities
SA and the GCR
green initiatives
solar energy
energy efficiency
water and sanitation
mobilising the region
mobilising the region in the right direction

A 15% energy efficiency target in the transport sector could be equated with a 15% reduction in fuel consumption, and thus the following can be calculated:

what are the growth constraints and sustainability challenges in terms of transport?

  • Transport is a major contributor to energy and carbon emissions in the region, e.g. Liquid fuels associated with transport contributed some 31% to the total City of Johannesburg carbon footprint, and almost 62% of its overall energy usage. (Mercer, 'City of Johannesburg State of Energy Report')
  • There is a growing tendency to move away from train and bus transport in favour of private vehicles. (Mercer, 'City of Johannesburg State of Energy Report')
  • The number of peak hour private vehicle trips is increasing.
  • The number of vehicle-kilometres travelled is increasing, implying that people are living further away from work and schools.
  • A result of the above behaviour is that congestion is increasing.

In addition, the majority of public transport commuters have concerns that:

  • public transport is not readily available or is too far
  • public transport is too expensive
  • vehicles are not safe and drivers drive poorly.

For example, more than half of taxi users are dissatisfied with the taxi service overall, compared to 45% of train and only 23% of bus users.

GCRO (2009) ‘Quality of Life’ survey

Thus, to re-orientate transportation in a green economy, transportation should be:

  • affordable and safe
  • job-creating
  • promote short distance trips
  • low in carbon emissions.

The current proposed target for “Transport Energy Efficiency” is a reduction of 15% by 2025 (Department of Local Government and Housing 'Gauteng Integrated Energy Strategy'). A simplistic view of this would be to argue for a 15% reduction in fuel consumption in the province.

Recent State of Energy Reports by the three metropolitan municipalities in Gauteng collectively estimate that the largest consumer of energy in the three cities was the transport sector, at 60% of total energy consumption in 2007. This is massively up from just 34% in 2000, when industry was the biggest consumer at 58% of total consumption.  Within the transport sector, the largest consumers of energy are private vehicles. The graph below shows data from the City of Johannesburg's State of Energy Report 2008, illustrating that private cars buy 93,4% of total fuel sales. This was approximately, 2,3 billion liters of petrol and diesel in 2007, some 6,5 million liters per day.

transport fuels sales by end-user sector in Johannesburg, 2007

City of Johannesburg, State of Energy Report, 2008, p59

The table below shows the average fuel consumption per person per 100km travelled (Mohammed and Venter, 'Analysing Passenger Transport Energy Consumption from Travel Survey Data').

consumption of motor fuels by different transport users in Gauteng

Surprisingly, the fuel consumption by bus is higher than by minibus taxi. This points to large inefficiencies in the bus fleet. The new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system is likely to improve significantly on this figure. Travelling by taxi will save 4.3 litres per person per 100km travelled.

To shift transportation towards a low-carbon environment, the following strategic changes should be addressed:

  • A shift from private to public transport
  • Better public transport quality/affordability/availability
  • A shift in city planning from
    • road-driven to rail/bicycle/pedestrian-driven infrastructure development
    • work/home/schools to be brought closer together
  • Less private kilometres driven.

leading to:

  • savings to the economy
  • lower carbon emmissions
  • greater energy security
  • job creation.