A study on the sustainability of a non-motorised transport CBD in Upington
Scheepers, Barend Jacobus
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The introduction of the private vehicle in urban communities (towns and cities) resulted in numerous urban problems experienced in the developed and developing world. These include, inter alia, economic inefficiency due to traffic congestion; a high mortality rate relevant to vehicle users and non-vehicle users; air & noise pollution and overall poor quality of life for residents. As part of the literature review, it was found that the level of urban problems experienced will intensify and worsen, if sustainable transportation systems were not introduced in urban areas. These predictions were made based on the following three factors: * The increase of the world population – It was predicated that the world population will increase by 2.3 people billion between 2011 and 2050. The total world population is therefore expected to be 9.3 billion in 2050. * The urbanisation rate experienced – It was predicated that the entire world population growth, along with an additional 300 million people, will be absorbed by urban areas between 2011 and 2050. Urban communities will therefore accommodate 6.2 billion people, or 67% of the world population, in 2050. * The level and growth in private vehicle ownership – The developed world consists of a high level of vehicles per 1 000 residents (655 in 2010), but experienced a decline in growth of 0,8% between 2005 and 2010. Contrary to the developed world, the developing world had a low level of vehicle ownership per 1 000 residents (128 in 2010), but experienced an increase of 21.9% between 2005 and 2010. Apart from the above data, the literature review introduced planning theories and international as well as national policies. The three planning theories that were researched each revealed ten principles of sustainable alternative transportation measures for an unsustainable private vehicle orientated urban area. These sustainable measures were used to introduce the option of a sustainable non-motorised transportation system to the demarcated study area. The three planning theories researched were: * The Smart growth theory * New urbanism, and * Pedestrian mall developments. International and national policies were scrutinised to obtain a point-of-view on how different countries, cities, spheres of government and type of documentation addressed non-motorised transportation developments. The examination of the policies also provided insight on how South African spheres of government were addressing non-motorised transportation in South African urban communities, if at all. The international policies include the “Share the road” document compiled by the United Nations in 2010; Mount Rainier Town Centre Urban Renewal Plan (2005) (USA) and Ottawa’s Transport Master Plan (2008) (Canada). The South African policies included the National Non-motorised Transportation Policy (2008); National Transport Master Plan (2011); Northern Cape Provincial Spatial Development Framework (2012) and //Khara Hais Spatial Development Framework (2012) (local municipality). Following the literature review, is an empirical study consisting of 2 sections. Firstly, a pilot study, which consists of international and local examples, was researched. These examples were identified as they consist of vehicle-free areas within the central business district. The success of the vehicle-free developments was measured and the information utilised to guide recommendations for the demarcated study area within the town of Upington (case study). Pilot study examples include Copenhagen, Denmark; Ghent, Belgium; Santa Monica, USA and Cape Town, South Africa. Secondly, a case study was analysed. A study area within the South African town of Upington, Northern Cape Province was demarcated. The status quo of relevant aspects, including but not limited to; the climate, coverage, parking, road hierarchy and transport modes were obtained and analysed. This analysis was conducted in order to establish a) if the study area experienced urban transport related problems and b) if the implementation of a non-motorised transport system will be more sustainable for the general public of Upington, as opposed to the current private-vehicle dependable system. Inputs from Town Planners were also obtained in order to obtain a multi-dimensional point-of-view. In the conclusion of the researched study it was found that a) the planning theories have been successfully implemented in the examples of the pilot studies and therefore these principles could apply to the demarcated study area in Upington. b) International policies addressed non-motorisation developments more comprehensively than the South African policies. Shortages especially existed at the provincial and local spheres of government where implementation should take place. c) Through the analysis of the case study it become evident that the demarcated study area within Upington was burdened by private vehicle orientated transport problems. However, the analysis also indicated that the study area has the potential to make a successful transition from being dependable on unsustainable private vehicles to sustainable non-motorised transportation. Finally, tailor-made recommendations (based on information derived from planning theories, policies, pilot study and case study) were made for the study area situated within Upington. These recommendations include the phased development of a pedestrian-only area, the development of parking garages (outside the pedestrian area), which are linked to the pedestrian-only area and the development of a public transportation system by means of busses.