Operational greenhouse gas emissions of public transportation in the eThekwini Municipality.
The transport sector is responsible for the production of approximately 23% of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, highlighting the responsibility and opportunity for efficient mobility. Sustainable measures must be adopted for GHG emission mitigation, as an attempt to reduce the effects of climate change. The lack of formal and reliable public transport (PT) systems in South Africa has prompted the proposal of integrated rapid public transport networks (IRPTNs) for implementation in 12 South African metropolitan municipalities, including the eThekwini Municipal Area (EMA). The aim is the provision of evolutionary PT systems that are accessible, affordable and safe, and will ultimately attract more users and induce a modal shift to minimise congestion on the road network. Motivated by the shortage of carbon emission studies and scenario analyses in the transport sector, this study serves as a benchmark for the GO!Durban system – the IRPTN planned for the EMA. The integrated system is planned to be fully operational by 2027. The baseline carbon emissions of the Business-As-Usual (BAU) Scenario were compared with the exante carbon emissions of the GO!Durban system in the year 2030, for several vehicle technology options. Results showed that the implementation of GO!Durban, will decrease GHG emissions of the PT sector of the EMA by 54% to 60% in 2030. The results were partially validated by the monitored carbon credits study conducted on the Rea Vaya BRT in the City of Johannesburg, which achieved a 69% decrease in GHG emissions. This is indicates the achievable success of GO!Durban on a significantly larger scale. The procurement of efficient vehicle technology is the key factor. The X’Trapolis Mega rolling stock with a regenerative braking system, is currently in manufacture for the GO!Durban system and latest European Emission Standard V buses are recommended for operation along bus routes. Further studies are advised, including investigating the cumulative emission reductions during implementation of GO!Durban, and incrementalism as an alternative way forward.