October is Transport Month
October was declared Transport Month in 2005 during the Transport Lekgotla. It is used to raise awareness on the important role of transport in the economy and to encourage participation from civil society and business, including the provision of a safe and more affordable, accessible and reliable transport system in the country. The month is also used to engage in extensive campaigns showcasing progress achieved in various transport programmes and projects.
Most transport in South Africa takes place by road, ranging from walking on unpaved paths to motor transport on well-paved roads. For the majority of people in rural areas, walking is the only available option, even for transporting goods. Furthermore, most transport travel in South Africa is for essential trips rather than for leisure.
Non-motorised transport (NMT) includes all means of transport that are human powered. Non-motorised transportation includes walking, animal-power and bicycling, and variants such as small-wheeled transport (skates, skateboards, push scooters and hand carts) and Wheelchair travel. As a mode of transport, non-motorised is available to almost everyone.
The majority of non-motorised class of transport modes are healthy, non-polluting, versatile and reliable. They encourage local movement and hence support local community facilities. A shift away from private car use to non-motorised transport, including improving accessibility for the mobility impaired, has a key role to play in using the existing road network more efficiently and delivering significant potential economic and environmental benefits to society, alongside tangible health and lifestyle benefits for individuals.
Transport Month in October 2015 will be hosted under the theme: “Together we move South Africa Forward.”
This year the focus will be on four pillars:
- Jobs created through infrastructure and other service delivery programmes
- Major infrastructure developments/improvements and links to Local Economic Developments
- Special programmes aimed at youth and women and
- Rallying all sectors of society for road safety with an opportunity to market programmes to be implemented by the Road Safety Advisory Council (RSAC).
We commemorate Transport Month with the knowledge that South Africa’s road death toll remains at an unacceptable high level. Road accidents take a massive toll on society and their effects are usually devastating.
During Transport Month government also mobilises public and private sector participation in transport projects aimed at developing the country’s economy and ensuring sustainable job creation.
For the environment sector, promotion of the NMT is crucial towards the attainment of the low carbon and/or carbon neutral transportation, with specific focus on cycling and walking thus contributing to the green economy.This mode of transport has a significantly low impact on the environment and added health benefit towards the wellbeing of society. Therefore, NMT is regarded as a catalyst towards achieving the transition to low carbon climate resilient green economy.
The Climate Change Response Policy identifies transport as one of the key carbon emitting sectors. The implementation and successful completion of the Non-Motorized Transport programme begins to address both the mitigation and adaptation agenda in response to climate change. The Non-Motorised Transport Policy is one of the Department of Transport’s interventions towards reversing challenges of accessibility and mobility. The Department is making strides to include and formalise NMT within the country’s integrated transport systems.
The Republic of South Africa has a standing bi-national agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany. Environment has been identified as a key area of support with specific reference to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The promotion of the NMT agenda supports both mitigation and adaptation. The three cities which benefited from the partnership are eThekwini Metropolitan, City of Jo’burg and Polokwane Local municipality. The total cost of the Non-Motorized Transport Programme (NMT) is approximately R70 million for all the three municipalities.
The NMT programme forms part of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ 2010 FIFA World Cup National Greening Legacy Programme.
The establishment of the Non-Motorised Transport Programme by the DEA contributes to the implementation of the announcement by President Jacob Zuma in 2009 that South Africa will implement nationally appropriate mitigation actions which will result in the reduction of carbon emissions by 34 % by 2020 and by 42 % in 2025, dependant on availability of finance and technology.