Gauteng, the country’s economic hub, is currently experiencing traffic congestion on its major routes, especially between Pretoria and Johannesburg. The current transport facilities and services between these two cities are mainly road based. The land required for a rapid rail system is far less than that of a road system. Apart from alleviating the severe traffic congestion, economic development will be stimulated by the rapid rail system and it will have distinct environmental advantages over other forms of transport.
The Gautrain is aimed at providing an alternative public transport mode to car users and therefore to attract private car-users to the train. This service will help alleviate the congestion on the roads between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The N1 Freeway currently carries some of the highest traffic volumes in South Africa with more than 157 000 vehicles travelling on it per day and a traffic growth rate of 7% per year. There is currently 300 000 cars per week day in the Pretoria-Johannesburg traffic corridor. It is estimated that approximately one-fifth of Pretoria-Johannesburg commuters will make the switch from travelling by road to travelling by rail. Gautrain should initially transport more than 100 000 passengers per day.
Traffic congestion on the N1 Freeway is currently estimated to cost more than R300 million per year, including production time lost during travelling time, higher transport costs and above average accident rates. Furthermore, traffic congestion impacts negatively on quality of life. Due to emissions from vehicles levels of pollution also increase contentiously.
Considering inter alia the variables above, the Gautrain Provincial Government is satisfied and confident of the feasibility of this rapid rail project. The detailed Feasibility Report justifies Gautrain’s technical-, financial-, economic-, socio-political and environmental feasibility.