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Aligning public transport models with passenger needs

‘World class’ public transport isn’t always first class for a lower-carbon Africa

Many sub-Saharan African cities and towns exhibit relatively low levels of accessibility and mobility; congestion, road-crash rates, travel times, and both local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise; and cities struggle with inadequate technical, institutional and financial capacities.

At the same time, sub-Saharan Africa is urbanising at a rapid pace, and decision-makers face unprecedented challenges in providing basic services and infrastructure, including transport. Moving trip choices from private to public transport is key to climate change mitigation, and won’t happen if the service doesn’t serve what people want.

This case study is concerned with the provision of public transport, and particularly, whether the public transport services provided are appropriate and focus on the stated needs of users. It considers the way in which Johannesburg and Cape Town have revised their initial full-specification bus-rapid-transport interventions in response to insights about user preferences and stated needs, of which the most commonly one is affordability.

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Aligning public transport with passenger needs

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