South Africa has an extensive and modern road network. However, the widespread purchase of private vehicles by previously disadvantaged groups and the exponential growth of road freight have created severe congestion on urban thoroughfares and main highways. At present, the number of automobiles on South African roads is estimated at 5 million and is growing steadily, leading to significant gridlock during rush hours and in high-traffic corridors, e.g., between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Modernizing the Road Transportation through Canadian Intelligent Transportation Systems
National, provincial and municipal roads agencies are now looking for solutions to make better use of the existing infrastructure by implementing intelligent transportation system (ITS) innovations. Additionally, Canadian companies have been successful in winning contracts in all transport sub-sectors. In 2006, as the leader of a multinational consortium, Bombardier was awarded a US3 billion contract to construct a high-speed rail link between Pretoria and Johannesburg to alleviate congestion on the highway -reputedly the busiest in the Southern hemisphere- linking the two cities.
The South African Department of Transportation also plans to spend more than C3 Billion to revamp the commuter rail network. Many cities, including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria, have plans to implement Bus Rapid Transit systems in advance of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Access to funding remains relatively straightforward, even in this time of crisis. South Africa's infrastructure projects are funded from government resources and from para-statal borrowing from capital markets, not from multilateral development institutions such as the African Development Bank. Governments of all levels are often receptive to unsolicited project proposals that provide timely, innovative, and effective solutions.