The Strategic Conversation focused on framing the South African transport challenge and exploring appropriate municipal strategies that take into account the lessons learnt to date. The main speakers were:
The facilitator was Sithole Mbanga, CEO of the SACN.
The following key points emerged from the strategic conversation:
Transport and the Built Environment: The spatial structure of the built environment governs the demand for transport. We need to think about the last mile (the trip to and from a public transport stop) for all users, as it is a critical component of prioritising public transport use and often the deterrent for public transport use. A nuanced approach is required to ensure a public transport approach that benefits all.
Governance: The governance of urban areas needs to be arranged in such a way that incentives are put in place to drive appropriate behaviour. The current incentive model is misaligned to policy intent. The use of subsidies and funding for public transport needs to happen more effectively. Ensuring that different voices are heard in the public transport conversation is essential.
Funding and Financing: We do not sufficiently understand how to capture the broader built environment value of public transport. It is critical to understand that prioritising public transport means redirecting funding from private motorised transport spending. Current forms of subsidy should be evaluated and the consequences of our current funding of public transport analysed. The broader impact of public transport on the economy also needs to be better understood.
National Public Transport Strategy: Cities need to promote their own understandings of what systems will be best for them and be more proactive in taking on the transport function. More clarity is needed from the national sphere about the long-term public transport approach (i.e. beyond 2020).
Capacity: Critical attention needs to be paid to the capacities and skills required to achieve the broader philosophical and day-to-day operational changes necessary for an effective public transport system that enables livelihoods, economic development and reshapes our built environment.