With the implementation of the first phase of the Gautrain and Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in Gauteng in 2009, and that of Cape Town's MyCiti BRT system in 2010, the major focus related to planning, design and construction aspects have been on the systems' physical and operational characteristics, and their cost implications. The novelty of the first 'new generation' public transport system of note to be implemented in SA cities, the fractious interactions with the taxi industry, and concerns with cost escalations have obscured discussions around the potential significant long term impact that these systems could have on the land use and accessibility patterns of our cities. This is of significance given that these inequitable and dysfunctional patterns inherited from apartheid have proved entrenched and largely immune to spatial restructuring initiatives by planning authorities following its formal demise.
This paper will specifically explore the restructuring potential, together with the value enhancement and capture aspects of BRT and rapid rail systems, based on precedent in cities of relevant contexts in South America, i.e. the opportunities for densification intensification of land uses along public transport corridors, the extent of value capture possible, private sector development responses, public sector intervention to make e.g. affordable housing opportunities available, and cross-financing opportunities (to help fund capital and/or operational costs). It will explore planning/ land use management authorities' responses to pro-actively engage with potential public transport - land use interaction dynamics within policy frameworks, i.e. how are land value enhancements (increments) best mobilised to fulfil a range of (potentially competing) objectives.
Finally, the paper will explore the potential of public transport as part of a package of critical ingredients in fostering more compact forms of development, specifically in the South African context which present a number of unique challenges, including high levels of inequality, major concerns with public security, increasing trend towards containment in security villages, and private mobility as an aspirational lifestyle choice.
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.