Paper presented at the 26th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 9 - 12 July 2007 "The challenges of implementing policy?", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. ABSTRACT:This paper is concerned with the road traffic congestion problems and decongestion initiatives in the Greater Johannesburg Area (GJA). A rapid appraisal of the traffic congestion and decongestion map and atlas of the GJA was conducted with the objective of advancing a pragmatic approach to transforming the problems into opportunities and seed through the deployment of transportation scientific knowledge and ideas into positive tangible outputs and deliverables. In this regard, an analysis of a sample of measures and instruments used to regulate road traffic and transport challenges in the GJA was undertaken. It is premised on the view that traffic and transport perspectives and paradoxes characterizing the region and practice are a direct output of local traffic and transport processes, systems and institutions which are poorly customized and formatted to be pro-actively responsive to the dynamics, evolving and mutating challenges of the GJA transportation demands. A sample of transport proposals, systems and initiatives adopted and adapted to date were collectively analyzed to gauge their potential impact and contribution in resolving key traffic congestion and decongestion challenges bedeviling the study area. The synthesis uses the matrix technique for analysis while the research is based on extensive literature review, physical observation and key informant views. The findings highlight that a gap exists between the traffic and transport images hypothesized and conceptualized in the plans and professional practice on the one hand, and the traffic and transport realities as experienced on the ground. The major conclusion is that an integrated and comprehensive land, air and road based strategic transportation framework and perspective plan reflecting input from all stakeholders could lay the foundation on which an appropriate, responsive and sustainable congestion and decongestion framework, mitigation and response mechanism can rest.
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