SANRAL has played a significant role in updating the road safety component of the roads policy by integrating aspects relating to engineering, education and enforcement.
The Roads Policy for South Africa sets benchmarks on all matters relating to road regulation, infrastructure, safety, funding and non-motorised transport.
It provides the necessary overarching framework to ensure that South Africa’s roads are better managed and safer, and encompasses all modes of transport to deliver a sustainable approach to roads management.
The South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) has played a significant role in updating the road safety component of the roads policy by integrating aspects relating to engineering, education and enforcement.
Historically, national road guidelines placed their primary focus on motorists. This was because non-motorists were not legally allowed to enter the national road reserve.
Poor historical spatial planning and pedestrian management has, however, necessitated the need to accommodate Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) users within the national road reserve.
Minor focus was also placed on other road users.
For most people in rural areas, walking is the only available option, even for transporting goods. Many people, especially in rural areas, live the experience of public and non-motorised transport daily, and sometimes throughout their lives.
SANRAL has worked on guidelines for Public Transport and Non-Motorised Transport to address challenges in accessibility and mobility, and to incorporate all road-users, including pedestrians and cyclists, safely into the national road network.
These guidelines will contribute to redressing pre-democracy failures in infrastructure, such as poor pedestrian management; poor spatial planning, which sees high-volume pedestrian generators located close to the freeways; and the high number of schools located within 2km of SANRAL roads.
There is a need for balance among freeway mobility, public transport and pedestrian accommodation, while ensuring the safety of pedestrians and other road users.
More than 40% of the yearly fatalities on our roads affect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists.
The updated guidelines are intended to make roads safer for these users.
This is an opinion piece by Jason Lowe, the Head of SANRAL’s Road Safety Engineering Focus Group