A transport impact assessment (TIA) is a requirement of any new development. It traditionally only took into account cars, but now also addresses public, non-motorised transport and people on foot. It asks: How many trips will this planned development add to its surrounding patterns of travel? And how do we mitigate the impacts of these?
A TIA and what follows is clearly an opportunity to make the places around buildings better for pedestrians and public transport users but the TIA process isn’t always as powerful a tool as it could be. One reason is that engineers, designers and planners often work in silos. Said one participant: “We need to create good design and great environments for people to use. But the transport planner and the architect don’t always gel very well.”
To address this, the City recently transformed Transport for Cape Town into the Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA), bringing all matters pertaining to the built environment under the same umbrella. One goal of this authority, under Councillor Brett Herron, is to bring people closer to work, whether that be through the provision of reliable public transport or by encouraging residential development along key transportation corridors.
It is difficult to enforce public and non-motorised transport strategies, however. With a TIA process, sometimes you can get a developer to provide, for example, a bus stop near their development. But the troubled public transport system means the City can’t force developers to encourage prospective tenants to use it.
The proposed Zero-2-One Tower on the corner of Adderley and Strand Streets is an opportunity to use design to change the status quo from another angle. “For this development,” said one Street Minds participant, “parking shouldn’t matter as there is a major public transport hub right there...The design priority should be creating large sidewalks that encourage people to use the surrounding public transport facilities."
There was some debate about whether the TIA is asking the right questions in this regard.“We are looking at a 15-minute period of congestion. We should rather be focusing on traffic safety, and what the roads look like for the other hours of the day.”
Dr Lisa Kane, one of the participants at Street Minds wrote up further thoughts on her blog.
Please stay tuned for future Street Minds gatherings!
This content was made possible through the support of the WWF Nedbank Green Trust.
Image credit: Business Tech