Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Southern African Transport Conference 14 - 16 July 2003 "National issues affecting the movement of people and goods - strategic approaches", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. ABSTRACT:The field of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) has matured greatly over the past decade, and has started delivering real benefits in most major countries. In southern Africa, the emphasis is very different from that in developed markets. Instead of the space, productivity and environmental benefits emphasised in other countries, we need to think about issues in line with our stated national priorities. These priorities are improved safety, cost savings and the promotion of public transport. Public transport can be greatly assisted by ITS. Public transport vehicles can be given priority, funds can be generated for subsidies and gradual changes in driver behaviour patterns can be encouraged. Selective enforcement also allows more efficient use of existing enforcement manpower, potentially leading to a substantial improvement in road safety. Imported equipment is in many cases unaffordable and inappropriate. Only if we can foster a local industry that can provide relevant and affordable solutions will we be able to roll out solutions on a sufficiently widespread scale.
Finally, the South African electronics industry has all the skills to be able to produce ITS, not only for local consumption but also for the export market. Markets similar to ours exist in the rest of Africa, and in Asia and South America. Once we have appropriate solutions for our own problems, a substantial export market waits. After a brief introduction, this paper covers the question of benefits in public transport and in job creation, both of which are stated national priorities and both of which stand to benefit significantly from ITS.
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