Road Safety towards 2010 World Cup
Also view: Road Safety during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa
The World Cup 2010 poses a massive challenge as well as an opportunity for South Africa. Since the official handing over of the rights to host the Soccer World Cup in 2010 several Speeches in Parliament and Conferences made reference to the challenges, risks and proposed strategies. This has been done on government, provincial and municipal level and the private sector has also provided recommendations. It is important that this be given exposure to raise awareness of the impact that the World Cup in 2010 might have on road safety. During the mid-year Cabinet Meeting [Lekgotla 26 – 28th July 2006]the discussion included the strategy for ensuring that government fulfils its obligations to FIFA for the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
The World Cup in 2010 is an opportunity whose benefits can and should ascend far beyond soccer. Not only is it capable of facilitating social cohesion, but can also be a catalyst to implement transport solutions that will leave us with hugely improved infrastructure and other benefits for road safety.
The South African Cabinet has recognized the opportunities that come with the hosting of 2010. These include the possibility to:
- Market our country to billions of people all over the world
- Boost our tourism and sports industries
- Speed up programmes to address infrastructure backlogs
- Unite all South Africans behind concrete popular objectives within a concrete timeframe, promoting both unity and development.
It is important that the road safety initiatives focus on enhancing infrastructure not as once-off events but also to provide value long after the World Cup. A recent survey by the HSRC provided a brief statistical backdrop of what the 2010 World Cup will be about, and made reference to the following:
- 32 teams, 43 days, 2.7 million local spectators, 400 000 visitors, 64 matches, 4 billion international “eyes”
- Direct expenditure of R12.7b
- R21.3b contribution to GDP
The HSRC research will be ongoing and also measure the potential of South African cities to host the 2010 World cup in comparison with other world class countries. The research will be divided into 3 periods i.e. Short term up to 2006, and then repeated for 2008 and 2010; Medium term – 2005; Long term – 2010/11.
The Minister of Transport, Jeff Radebe has remarked that the successful hosting of the World Cup 2006 has provided valuable lessons for South Africa in 2010. The various delegations from 2010 host cities, provincial and national government and private sector delegations, to Germany, will form a treasure trove of experiential learning about how South Africa, within her peculiarities, can do to stage a successful World Cup. In addition to this experience, the assistance from FIFA and further learning experiences from the 2008 Olympics, has convinced the Minister of Transport that South Africa is well on track with the preparations.
The Facts on Road Safety in South Africa
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) described South Africa’s transport system as "stellar" in an African context but notes that the quality is uneven and requires significant investment. It highlights government co-ordination as a major factor for success. The National Household Travel Survey and other research revealed the following:
- The current public transport system carries 39.7% of people to work, daily 85% of who are found in metropolitan and urban areas.
- 36.2% of people use private transport, while 52,3% use non-motorized transport.
- While we have to provide public transport for the duration, we must not lose sight of the fact that post-World Cup; the modes that are used by a greatest number of our people include non-motorized transport.
- The current transportation system has not failed to transport many South Africans to sports events. The Africa Soccer Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the Cricket World Cup, among others, went without transport hitches.
- Almost every other week, there is an international conference of one form or another in South Africa – without transportation problems.
- Minibus taxis as an informal transport system make 67.9% of a total number of trips. This highlights the important role that a well-managed minibus taxi system can play as the core focus of public transportation, and the new transportation subsidy regime of government is shifting towards the direction of supporting this sector.
- The South African Bus Operators Association (SABOA) has a membership of more than 20 000 buses spread around the country; 15 000 of those busses are used for public transport and 5 00 are used by companies to transport their employees free of charge. These busses undertake more than 720 million km trips per year. Long distance travel is served by 400 coaches catering mainly for tourism and 800 luxury or semi-luxury busses for intercity.
- South Africa is faced with 14 000 yearly fatalities resulting from accidents on our roads
- These accidents are caused by various reasons, from unroadworthy vehicles, driver fatigue and unfitness, alcohol consumption, speeding etc.
- Statistics tell us that 90% of crashes are caused by breaking the law, and the vast majority of accidents are preceded by a traffic law violation.
Click here for the “Pocket Guide to Transport in South Africa”
The Challenge for Road Safety 2010
The Challenges for Road Safety towards 2010 include:
- enhancing driving skills and training
- addressing pedestrian safety
- the control of hazardous and dangerous cargo
- the transfer of adequate and professional technical expertise to inspectors and professional operators
- effective traffic law enforcement and road safety education
- design of new infrastructure and upgrading of existing infrastructure
- ensuring safety and sustainability in the transport sector
- overloading and weighbridge control
- addressing shortages in infrastructure engineering
- increased co-operation between the public and private sector
Road Safety Initiatives
Road safety initiatives will include those at National, Provincial and Local Government level. President Thabo Mbeki has confirmed on the 30th of July 2006 that government has made R3bn available to improve South Africa’s public transport systems.The Minister of Transport has indicated that the following are imperatives to achieving the goal of Road Safety:
- The reinforcement of the Road to Safety Strategy imperatives
- The implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act, and its system of demerit points, improved fine collection, parity of fines and easier fine payments
- A completed tender for a feasibility study into periodic vehicle testing, which should be implemented during 2007
- Discussions with organised labour and industry regarding more appropriate and realistic driving hours
- Improved enforcement through the coordination bodies of the RTMC, and an increased number of officers being trained and deployed throughout the country
- The Taxi Recapitalization Program, taking out the oldest and most unroadworthy of the fleet, and replacing them with new vehicles with set safety standards.
An operational and resource plan for all aspects of the 2010 FIFA World Cup has been completed. The South African government will work with all stakeholders to:
* ensure that infrastructure projects are completed on time and are undertaken with confidence and efficiency
* ensure common action across the three spheres of government, State Owned Enterprises, business including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the South Africam Football Association/Local Organising Committee (SAFA/LOC), the union movement and across society as a whole
* encourage the development and implementation of a vision for the national soccer team
* monitor preparations and implementation of the security strategy and transport plan, and articulate them widely to ensure appreciation of this work within SA and internationally
* promote international marketing on a massive scale in conjunction with the International Marketing Council to take advantage of this unique opportunity to improve perceptions of our country and continent.
Several provinces have already planned extensively towards addressing “Road Safety and the 2010 World Cup”. These strategies include:
- improving tourist safety
- planning and coordinated implementation of road safety programmes by all agencies in the provinces on provincial, metropolitan, district and local authority levels.
- clamping down on unroadworthy public and private vehicles, unfit drivers, speeding in excess of speed limits, drivers and pedestrians under the influence, offenders disobeying the rules of the road and those with a disregard for the payment of traffic fines.
- significant increases in visible policing, road blocks and road side check points
- an increased focus on traffic education, combining government’s traffic education programmes with private sector initiatives to enhance safe schools, junior and adult pedestrian education and driver education
- increased overload control to protect road infrastructure
- addressing the capacity of traffic law enforcement to enforce the law, to restore the road discipline and change the behaviour of road users to acceptable levels
- acquisition and application of intelligent traffic management technology and equipment to enhance the effectiveness and productivity of traffic management
- improved accident information and traffic management systems
- evaluation of traffic management programmes and operations to ensure continuous improvement and sharing of learning amongst all traffic agencies
- supporting the National Minister of Transport’s programmes to improve road safety through sustainable and effective co-operation between all spheres of government and in partnership with the private sector.
The need for co-operation between Government and the Private Sector in enhancing road safety offers an opportunity for business to provide world class products and services and to showcase this on the international arena.
One of these business spheres to benefit will be Intelligent Transport Solutions, a new interdisciplinary profession that developed from the convergence of traffic engineering, information technology and telecommunication.
Examples of Intelligent Transport Solutions include:
- closed-circuit television cameras relaying images to a traffic-control centre
- the detection of incidents like fires as took place in the Huguenot Tunnel in the Western Cape
- the weighing-in-motion of over-loaded vehicles
- the introduction of electronic vehicle registration (EVR) to combat vehicle-related crime
- smart-card applications for transport, such as integrated ticketing across different modes of transport
- on-board geographical positioning system navigation to determine best routes to a destination.
It was noted at the South African Cabinet mid-year meeting that making the 2010 FIFA World Cup a success is something which Government and the soccer authorities cannot achieve alone. It will require the participation of all South Africans, in their occupations, as volunteers and as the country’s brand ambassadors. Attention will be paid to identifying initiatives which will reinforce public enthusiasm and involvement in the preparatory work.
[The website www.arrivealive.co.za will add new content on the strategies and initiatives towards 2010 as it becomes available. The above content has been compiled from speeches before Cabinet, Parliament, Provincial Government and at Road Safety Conferences]