Pierre Joubert's concerns are firstly that the massive construction for dedicated bus lanes will entrench old traffic management concepts for which he is suggesting alternatives, to promote continuous flow, to burn less fuel, and speed up traffic flow
At this crucial time while all this money is being spent, some real out of the box thinking is necessary to see what can be done at the same time to increase efficiency of traffic flow
Joubert's concern is that the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system as proposed for Port Elizabeth, will have extensive irreversible construction along certain major corridors, that will impact severely on existing traffic patterns and limit the City's ability to make any changes later, in this time that serious changes to transportation systems worldwide are likely to happen.
There can be no problem with the concept of Bus Rapid Transport Systems per se`. Dedicated lanes for high occupancy vehicles (HOV's) including busses are being implemented worldwide, and the government's decision to implement these for people captive to public transportation is inevitable. But it is not a panacea (cure all).
As in all dedicated systems, there is an element of other transport having to stand aside. Non-captive people should be attracted to the public system because fuels will become increasingly scarce and expensive, and the need for using public transport will grow.
But there is no indication yet of a natural major shift in that direction when a powerful car industry, which is a corner post of most economies, is producing more and more vehicles. We cannot push a public system and ignore the continued growth in demand on the existing road system, especially if the expanded public system will compound the load on the existing system
Joubert's suggestions are to increase the efficiency of the existing system at relatively low cost, with or without an upgraded public transport system. If Joubert's suggestions are implemented, all users will benefit, public and private, and the capacity of the existing systems will be increased
Kempston Road is an example where serious disruption to businesses will occur if Kempston is widened to cater for the bus lanes and on-street parking is to be sacrificed for this. Joubert has made an alternative proposal to build a road through the
Korsten Dry Lake and couple this with other secondary streets parallel to Kempston
Secondly, growing energy scarcity and global warming is mentioned in the Public Transport Action Plan, but not the wasteful effect of stop / go traffic. The Joubert suggestions are aimed at burning less fuel by promoting continuous flow in traffic. Any transport project like should have impact on energy reserves and global warming high on the agenda with other elements, especially if we purport to be doing an environmental impact assessment.
Thirdly, electric powered busses, not diesel, should be used in the new system, in line with world-wide energy and global warming objectives.
This paragraph was written before the 2008 Eskom Crisis, so there will be instant objections from many quarters, not only lack of capacity, but also lack of infra structure for maintenance, learning curves for future engineers, etc, but we are the planners today who need to cater for the future, so the reasoning is still valid.
There was a move away from electric busses and rail guided trams years ago, for a number of reasons. One reason was that tank fueled busses were not captive to railway tracks and overhead power lines, and oil was cheap.
However, considering today that the clock is turning on imported oil based fuels, with bio fuels not likely to fully replace oil, electric powered vehicles shift their energy needs back to coal, of which RSA has plenty, and it is backed up by nuclear and other power sources of the future like wind, solar, hydro, tide and geo. A negative is that RSA's mass supply of coal is low quality with a high sulphur content. However, at a coal burning power station emissions can be controlled by use of suitable stationary equiment, to get the advantage of the availability of this energy source.
For a large energy user like the Public Transport System, it would be a major achievement if there could be a large scale shift back to electric power. The proposed system takes us back to dedicated routes, so captivity to overhead power lines will not be an issue for busses in the proposed new system.
Billions are being spent on research into electric powered vehicles, in attempting to match the versatility and range of tank fuels. The versatility element is not a big issue for vehicles designed to be captive to dedicated routes. The pros and cons of battery power and fuel cells vs overhead lines is a relevant debate, but is not addressed here.
Joubert's website has a page dedicated to environment and energy
Joubert is suggesting some innovative ideas that will promote continuous flow along arterial routes, including such elements as indirect turns, one-way streets, restricting right turns, reducing the number of traffic signals, and most importantly, recognition of arterial routes as such and restricting random access as we have at present.
If his suggestions are implemented 6 traffic signals at the Uitenhage / N2 crossing will be eliminated and a further 14 along the rest of Uitenhage road past Kwadwesi, by means of a system of indirect turns. Heugh and Villiers roads will become opposing one ways as will some other major routes in the city, like (Harrower and Fettes). Indirect turns elsewhere will speed up traffic flow along Stanford road William Moffat, Circular drive, Main road Walmer.
A number of descriptions of the suggestions by Joubert are on the website.
This website is constantly updated
Created 2007-10-18, last updated 2008-03-05
If you wish to make a comment or contribution, please send an email to us.
Contact Pierre Joubert on 074 104 7547