In 2009 the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) highlighted the importance of government investment in energy efficient, pollution reducing transport modes and infrastructure. This policy specifically recommended the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as a transport mode to help achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). BRT is an innovative, bus-based system that integrates the high efficiency of a rail system and the low cost of a bus network. BRT was first developed and implemented in Curitiba, Brazil, in 1974. After the successful adaptation and implementation of the BRT system in Latin America, South Africa saw the planning and implementation of the first BRT systems during the early 2000s, in preparation for the Soccer World Cup in 2010. The first BRT system, named Rea Vaya, meaning “we are going”, commenced in 2009, connecting the South Western Township (Soweto) to Johannesburg. A decade after the services started, this paper takes stock of the impacts that the implementation of the Rea Vaya BRT system has had on Soweto residents. A combination of the analysis of secondary economic and environmental data and primary social data provided information to conduct a Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA). Aggregating phase one and two of Rea Vaya implementation results in a positive Net Present Value (NPV) of R693m, and a Benefit/ Cost-Ratio (BCR) of 1.09. The MCA identifies additional social benefits, giving the BRT a clear advantage over the use of minibus (van) taxis.
Papers presented virtually at the 39th International Southern African Transport Conference on 05 -07 July 2021