District safety plans : towards a model for safer road-based transport systems in rural and urban settings in the Western Cape

Elliott, Hector James de Villiers (2022-04)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The development of road safety paradigms around the world which identify traffic injuries as emerging from the traffic system as a whole have proved extremely successful in reducing traffic injury burdens dramatically since their peaks in the 1970s and early 1980s. These benefits have not however been universally shared across the globe, and at this time road safety outcomes in higher income countries are in stark contrast to those continuing to be suffered in middle- and lower-income countries. South Africa in general, and the Western Cape in particular has features of both middle- and lower-income countries. Road traffic injuries, including fatalities, have remained stubbornly high, despite global, national and regional initiatives. The introduction by the Western Cape Government of an evidence based, vertically and horizontally integrated “District Safety Plan” concept as part of its adoption of Vision Zero provides an opportunity to examine the applicability and efficacy of planning systems that attempt to address the traffic system as a whole in a manner customized to a specific locality. The piloting of this concept in the rural Caledon Traffic District by the Western Cape Government, and subsequent testing within the densely urbanized township of Khayelitsha by the City of Cape Town created an opportunity to further contrast such a mechanism when implemented in differing environments. In addition, the data generated by the implementation of these District Safety Plans created an opportunity to attempt to devise a theoretical predictive model for the design of integrated planning systems aimed at improving safety within the traffic system in a given area. The core study was limited to a six-month post implementation period and was limited to the impact of enforcement and education activities due to this timeframe. Study of the implementation and impact of the plans showed potential for improving road safety outcomes within the traffic systems in both rural and urban areas. However, impact in the rural environment was shown to be higher, notably due to the impact of predictable external shocks in the urban environment, especially civil unrest. The most promising results were shown to be potentially significant impacts on pedestrian fatalities in Caledon: after six months, these were observed to have fallen 63% year on year, and 63.6% when compared to the five-year average. The development of a rudimentary predictive model that scores combinations of law enforcement and education activities showed promise for the future ability of planners to develop minimum thresholds for significant positive impacts by identifying numbers of operations and numbers and types of media activities necessary. Future studies conducted over longer terms could incorporate engineering interventions as well as study the potential impacts of social media.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsomming beskikbaar

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