Car dependency is increasing in South African cities, and apartheid spatial patterns continue to be observed in the accommodation of public transport captive communities at low densities on the fringes. It has been argued in many contemporary plans and strategies that Transit Oriented Development (TOD) offers a potentially useful concept to drive the restructuring of South African socio-spatial patterns. The 2011 National Development Plan, in particular, calls for ?the internationally accepted principles? of TOD to be employed. The concept of TOD is rooted in North American attempts to overcome the predominant use of private cars, and the inefficiencies of urban sprawl. This paper aims to explore what TOD means in a South African context. It is argued that identifying and adopting internationally accepted principles of TOD design is fairly straight forward, and it is clear that South African TOD strategies have largely been informed by these. However, the international experience highlights that the implementation of these principles encounters many complex challenges, amongst which divergent stakeholder interests are particularly important. Adopting narrow physical and urban design principles, without paying attention to attendant complex implementation challenges, is unlikely to achieve success. Drawing from (n=11) qualitative practitioner interviews in Johannesburg, the paper highlights that local TOD stakeholders often have contradictory and competing interests and understandings. This poses a risk to achieving TOD objectives. It is concluded that greater effort is required to understand local TOD stakeholder dynamics, and that local governments need to provide frameworks and associated strategies through which competing interests can be resolved.
Paper presented at the 34th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 6-9 July 2015 "Working Together to Deliver - Sakha Sonke", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.