Publication Detail

Transportation in Developing Countries: Greenhouse Gas Scenarios for South Africa

UCD-ITS-RP-02-10

Reprint

Download PDF
Two transportation scenarios were designed for South Africa — one that yielded higher GHG emissions by 2020, and one that yielded lower emissions. These scenarios draw upon extensive interviews with decision-makers and experts in South Africa.

The higher GHG scenario assumes a continuation of observable and emerging trends. In this "business-as-usual" scenario, the government remains entangled in crisis management. It focuses on health, education and social unrest related to skewed income distributions, and ignores transportation concerns. Residual land use policies from apartheid continue to aggravate transportation problems. Cities remain divided and land developers give little consideration to the implications of long commuting distances. The automotive industry remains a pillar of economic development. Personal car use accelerates as car prices drop and consumer credit becomes more widely available.

In the lower GHG scenario, the motivation for change and government action are driven by mobility, accessibility, and safety concerns. The government plays an active role in land use policies and surface passenger transportation. Land use and housing policies are adopted that promote more efficient urban land use patterns, gradually correcting spatial imbalances and reducing travel distances. The government promotes public transportation, restructuring the minibus jitney, bus, and commuter rail sectors. Under the new structure, trains serve the routes with the densest population, buses serve the secondary routes and minibus jitneys provide feeder or local services. The sustainability of the public transportation system is ensured through revenues raised from dedicated taxes on vehicle buyers and users. South African auto manufacturers are provided with incentives to design and build buses and minibuses appropriate to the local market. Sasol, the large industrial company in South Africa that produces synthetic oil from coal, starts to use natural gas as feedstock in the production of synthetic fuel. This change would avoid the high costs of impending capital investments in coal mining, while harnessing the environmental benefits associated with the use of a cleaner feedstock.
Published by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (All Pew Center reports are available for download from http://www.pewclimate.org/)