With the ever increasing urbanisation especially in Windhoek, it has become imperative for the Windhoek Municipality and the Namibian government, to come to the table with resolute solutions aimed at providing a reliable transport network system that is in line with this trend.
Urbanisation has seen the sprouting up of informal settlements, which are mainly located far away from the Central Business District (CBD), and their residents are forced to travel long distances to access basic facilities due to the scarcity of commercial development in townships that offers employment opportunities.
In the process, Windhoek is facing increasing transportation challenges such as, traffic congestion, cyclists and pedestrian accidents, air pollution, high costs of transportation and other social and economic challenges.
Although transportation problems are not new to mankind, urban areas have always been problematic because of the large concentration of people and Windhoek is no exception. Thus being not only the political but also economic capital, Windhoek will continue on the rapid growth trajectory.
Aside of the numerous hazards that people are exposed to due to this overpopulation, as they scramble to get by their daily businesses, the Windhoek Municipality should come to the party with tangible lasting solutions that address this challenge on our roads.
The question to policy makers as well as transport and city planners is, how can our current transport system cope with the increased transport demand? Will Windhoek have traffic jams, as many other African cities are experiencing every day? Will we be able to provide safe, affordable and efficient mobility in a livable urban environment?
Although the issue of capital will always be a stumbling block on lucrative national developmental issues such as these, it does not need a rocket scientist to come up with Public Private Partnerships that will benefit all and sundry in the long run. Have the City Fathers ever considered issues such as making certain streets single carriageways, in and out of the CBD to alleviate this problem while at the same time also making all streets user-friendly for cyclists and pedestrians.
This is bearing in mind that not all people use cars to get by their daily business, as there are such alternatives available and to be considered when planning road infrastructures in the City.
Such measures will go a long way in reducing the number of accidents and also reducing the time spent commuting and people can use that time to be more productive instead.
Other cities have alternatively taken up such initiatives and have recorded success rates, but we seem to be having this challenge against an ongoing increase in commuters.
When it comes to public and non-motorised transportation, European countries are at the forefront of integrating all modes of public transportation, and we should follow such leads.
A fact nowadays is that more people are now able to afford to buy personal vehicles, thanks to ex-Japanese cars influx of late. Against this backdrop, the Windhoek Municipality should also look at other alternatives to lessen the burden on our roads, such as the introduction of more Municipal buses that are reliable and safe for use by commuters.
These have the capacity to carry more people and travel on time regularly providing transportation for commuters. The buses should have fixed timetables and their own carriageways especially from the high density areas of the city, which could save on the current congestion faced by commuters from these areas. Other alternatives that could be pursued include the calculated introduction of commuter trains for these densely populated areas, for everyday movement of not only goods but people within the City.
By so doing the government would be tapping into a very lucrative income generating program for the ailing TransNamib, at the same time reducing by far margins the numbers of vehicles operating on our roads.
It is time we start making decisions that are for our people as we have an obligation to them to make sure that their lives are positively influenced by the decisions we make on a daily basis.
Namibia has the potential to become a leading nations in logistics sector and this will not be achieved by having a port and corridor but the cracks of the matter should also start at home. If we fail our own people, how are we going to even be able to better serve the visitors and passers-by?