Photography by:
  • Gareth Pon & Solomon Legodi

Mobility in the GCR (2014)

A key factor in defining a functional city-region is the flow of people between its constituent parts, as evident in one of the qualifying criteria for defining an OECD metro-region. Traffic flow is also an important development concern, as congestion impacts business efficiency and in turn regional competitiveness, as well as the quality of life of residents. For both reasons it is important to understand the existing flows of traffic across the GCR, and to gauge the impact of key transport interventions such as the Freeway Improvement Programme (and associated tolling), Gautrain, and BRT.

In 2011, GCRO commissioned two projects to assist with transport research. Firstly, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Department of Civil Engineering Science and Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, were appointed to carry out transport research in the GCR using the 2009 Quality of Life survey and previous transport surveys such as GTS2000 and the 2003 National Household Transport Survey. The final output was a report that compares current and historical transport surveys and depicts key commuter flow corridors within the Gauteng City-Region.

Secondly, Prof Christo Venter from the University of Pretoria (UP), was commissioned to develop a report for the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport analysing data from the transport sections of GCRO's 2011 Quality of Life Survey. A contract was signed that produced top line results shortly after the 2011 QoL data were officially released. The transport questions were visualised using basic GIS maps showing desire lines and key commuter flow corridors, i.e. basic GIS mapping of major commuter movements by mode, travel time and speed.

This initial broad analysis of the 2011 QoL transport data was further extended in 2013/2014 by Christo Venter’s development of a ‘quality of transport’ index – which provides a single measure reflecting the lived experiences of residents in the 20 priority townships identified by the Gauteng Provincial government, with respect to the quality of everyday travel opportunities and dimensions. The construction of the index was driven by the understanding that transport, access and mobility issues are key to the quality of life enjoyed by residents in a specific area. Transport realities vary considerably across the city-region and the quality of transport index provides a useful single measure of the main aspects of this variation within the 20 priority townships.

The results from the UJ research report on past and present travel patterns in the Gauteng City-Region (which utilised the 2009 Quality of Life (QoL) survey) were then combined with the reports and maps from Christo Venter’s transport analysis of the 2011 QoL survey to form a consolidated report on mobility in the GCR. Two additional chapters were written by GCRO researchers. Christina Culwick considered transitions to non-motorised transport in Gauteng, and Guy Trangos explored the public space interface of various Gautrain stations.


Wray, C. & Gotz, G. (2014) Mobility in the Gauteng City-Region. GCRO Report.

Culwick, C. (2013) ‘Transitions to Non-Motorised Transport in the Gauteng City-Region’, GCRO Presentation.

Venter, C. (2013) ‘Quality of Transport in the Priority Townships’, GCRO Presentation.

Trangoš, G. (2013) ‘New spaces of transport in the GCR: a Gautrain analysis’, GCRO Presentation.

Last updated 20 October 2017.


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