South Africans believe that transport is one of the most critical issues facing them today. Transport is surpassed only by education and health. Aspects such as housing, law and order and infrastructure received a far lower rating, a new independent survey of transport opinions shows.
The University of Johannesburg’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (Africa) today released the ITLS State of Transport Opinion Poll, a survey gauging South Africans’ confidence in transport. The inaugural survey of 1,000 adults across South Africa showed that transport is the third highest overall priority in society today and the second highest priority in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Transport issues are a far higher priority in rural areas and small cities than elsewhere.
The top three transport issues identified by the survey are public transport, the high accident rate and the cost of fuel. These were followed by, in order, taxis, quality of roads, the need for improved safety, high transport costs, access to transport, the availability of transport and the state of rail transport. Although four of the nine provinces identified public transport as the highest single priority, the Eastern Cape and North West province identified accidents as their highest priority. The Free State’s main issue is the quality of their roads; taxis are the top priority in the Western Cape and the Northern Cape identified the price of fuel as their primary concern.
Only 32 per cent of South Africans feel transport in their local area is better now than a year ago, says ITLS Director Professor Jackie Walters, indicating that transport in local areas hasn’t shown much progress in the last year. “But the outlook for the future paints a better picture, with 43 per cent of South Africans thinking transport in their local area will improve in the next year and 57 per cent believing it will improve in the next five years.
“This opinion indicates that the public feel that national and local governments – who they believe are responsible for transport – aren’t currently doing enough to address these concerns. But they expect transport problems will be addressed in the next few years.” Limpopo and Mpumalanga residents are the most positive of all the provinces regarding transport, however most South Africans are generally positive regarding the medium term future of transport.
More than half the respondents indicate that there should be more private sector involvement in the provision of public transport. “It will be interesting to see how government engages with the private sector as they develop transport plans and deliver projects” says Professor Walters.
The State of Transport Opinion Poll is the first survey to measure transport opinions on a regular basis and will be a reliable indicator of South Africans’ changing attitudes towards transport. The Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Johannesburg provides education and conducts research in transport, logistics and supply chain management.