Addressing non-motorised transport movement along and across railway lines in the city of Cape Town

Author(s) Y. Venter, L. Hermant, K. Shirley, E. Tukushe, T. Kok
33rd Annual Southern African Transport Conference, July 7


There are numerous reasons why pedestrians choose to cross railway tracks in South Africa and in Cape Town in particular. Whilst this behavior generally forms part of their desire line and is often part of their journey, the crossing of railway lines is illegal and unsafe and is causing a significant amount of injuries and fatalities within the rail network in the City. Such incidents occurring along railway lines cause a great disruption to the railway operational service with a resultant negative effect on the economic growth of the City.

In this paper, an investigation into the Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) movements along and across all railway lines, within the jurisdictional area of the City of Cape Town, has been undertaken using innovative video-based techniques and assessed using GISmapping methods. The investigation identified several “hotspot” locations where various types of recommendations and/or intervention strategies are urgently needed to enhance public (pedestrian) safety and ensure uninterrupted train service. Intervention strategies proposed have been drawn from international best practice tailored to suit the unique South African pedestrian culture.

The paper highlights the “Nomzamo rail crossing” as a special case study as it demonstrates the failure of town planning processes to consider the impacts of locating developments next to railway lines. The Nomzamo case study is an example of a largescale, low-income urban development that has been allowed to develop alongside a rail line without due consideration of NMT desire lines that have materialised across the rail line. Currently, approx. 3,000 pedestrians cross the railway line at the Nomzamo location in the 2½-hour morning peak period, which include scholars and cyclists.