Hi-tech centre to drive Gauteng’s transport system

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 04 Oct 2023
Gauteng government wants to ensure there is a single ticket for all forms of transport in the province.
Gauteng government wants to ensure there is a single ticket for all forms of transport in the province.

The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport is preparing to unveil a data-centric Transport Management Centre (TMC), which forms part of the new “one-ticket-one-province” system that will be usable across all major transport modes in Gauteng.

This is according to Gauteng transport MEC Kedibone Diale-Tlabela, speaking this week at the Gauteng launch of October Transport Month at the 2023 Smarter Mobility Conference, in Johannesburg.

Detailing some of the smart mobility initiatives to be introduced by the department this month, Diale-Tlabela noted the fourth industrial revolution will transform the way citizens travel. It has presented innovations like driverless cars, autonomous trains and artificial intelligence, which have the potential to reshape transportation and the job landscape.

SA’s transportation sector is also undergoing significant transformation, as emerging technologies penetrate industries.

The MEC highlighted intermodal connectivity – the seamless integration of various modes of transportation – and electrification as key pillars of the department’s digital transformation strategy.

“Our government is actively working on mobility-as-a-service solutions and integrated fare management systems to simplify travel for our citizens.We take pride in our efforts to integrate public transport through the construction of our state-of-the-art TMC at our headquarters.

“This marks a significant step toward implementing the one-ticket-one-province system. Later this month, we will unveil the TMC, equipped with smart technologies that provide real-time data for informed decision-making by commuters and operators alike,” stated Diale-Tlabela.

The seamless integration of various modes of transportation is gaining momentum worldwide. Ensuring easy transfers between trains, buses and bicycles is essential for a well-functioning transportation network, she added.

Diale-Tlabela pointed out many countries are electrifying their transportation fleets, introducing electric buses, trams and trains to reduce emissions and operational costs.

Gauteng is exploring similar initiatives to improve air quality.

“We are introducing electric cars and are on the verge of incorporating hydrogen vehicles. To support this transition, we are planning clean energy production through wind and solar farms in our region. Collaboration with European partners, Brazil, Russia, India, China and African countries to build smart corridors for trade and energy exchange is on our agenda.”

At the event, Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi noted the province is looking to reposition Johannesburg to become the centre of the four most important economic sectors driving Gauteng’s economy: the financial, ICT, insurance and digital economy sectors, which encompass the e-hailing and video-on-demand industries.

“Gauteng is repositioning itself to ensure the transport industry is the backbone of our economy, and the infrastructure must be relevant and respond to the type of investments we want to attract.

“For Gauteng to grow, it needs to be smart, and as part of achieving that smartness, we must ensure there is a single ticket for all forms of transport in our province. This is a project that has been hanging for too long. But now we are excited to announce we are ready to launch this process. It will make things easier for all Gauteng commuters.”

Lesufi also pointed out government is working on a proof-of concept for a high-speed train that will transport commuters between Johannesburg, Gauteng and Polokwane, Limpopo.

The Gauteng and Limpopo provincial governments have been engaging on the concept, which will be presented to Parliament in a few weeks, he said.