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Non-Motorised Transportation (CIV5039Z)

Course convenor: Prof Marianne Vanderschuren (Department of Civil Engineering) (assisted by Dr Hubrecht Ribbens)

Motivation for the course
The development of South African passenger transport policy in the post-apartheid era has seen the emergence, arguably for the first time, of non-motorised transport (NMT) (i.e. modes of travel without motorised means of propulsion, i.e. walking, bicycles, wheelchairs, perambulators, human-drawn carts/trolleys, animal-drawn carts, etc.) as an important policy issue on the grounds that these modes are depended upon by the large majority of impoverished households. There are clear policy prescriptions that require that NMT should be planned for, and accommodated in, passenger transport systems. As a result, in recent years transport professionals have moved into relatively new and less developed fields of planning and design practice, and an associated demand has developed for skills in the formulation and implementation of effective non-motorised transportation strategies and infrastructure improvement plans. This course was developed to address this demand.

Course objectives

The objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of the planning and implementation of transport improvements for non-motorised travel modes. It explores the NMT planning and design practices necessary to respond effectively to an increasing emphasis in passenger transport policy on the importance of non-motorised transport modes. It exposes students to current developments in the field both locally and internationally.

Course structure and content

The course comprises four phases:

  • a pre-contact period of five weeks, involving some 30-40 hours of preparatory reading and assignments;
  • a week of intensive contact time at UCT, comprising 40-50 hours of formal lectures and class assignments;
  • a two-hour course test (on the Monday following the contact week), intended to evaluate students’ understanding of selected aspects of the material they have been exposed to during the contact week, and
  • a post-contact period of seven weeks, involving an assignment or assignments requiring about 100 hours of work.

The material presented during the contact period is structured around five themes:

Contextual background:

  • the extent of NMT travel in South African cities and NMT problems; NMT in rural areas, planning frameworks for NMT infrastructure improvements

Analytical methods:

  • NMT site analysis; NMT network analysis; NMT modelling and simulation

Footway and pathway design:

  • design criteria; network design principles; cross-section design; signage and marking, lighting and barriers; pedestrian precincts

Cycleway design:

  • low-cost bicycle supply and promotion; design criteria; cycleway classification; network design principles; cross-section design; signage and marking; bicycle parking facilities

Pedestrian and bicycle crossing facilities:

  • crossing facilities; pedestrian crossing behaviour; crossing signals

Formal presentations on these topics are interspersed with group assignments, and class discussions or seminars. A detailed timetable is issued separately at the start of the contact week.

Readings for the preparatory assignment are issued about five weeks prior to the commencement of the contact period. Additional readings are then issued during the contact week and with the brief for the post-contact phase assignment.

Contact week attendance
Students are expected to attend the contact week on a full-time basis, which will require them to be resident in Cape Town for its duration given that the daily timetable during this period will generally occupy the hours from 08h00 to 17h00. Attendance for the entire contact period is a requirement, and students who are absent for more than 20% of the contact period duration will not be allowed to complete the course.

Learning outcomes
Students who have completed the course successfully should:

  • have an understanding of the importance of non-motorised transportation in South African human settlements;
  • be able to select and apply appropriate methods of analysing pedestrian and bicycle networks;
  • have an understanding of non-motorised transportation infrastructure design processes, design issues and design conventions.

The aggregate mark for this course is compiled as follows:

minor assignment based on preparatory reading 15%
group contact week assignment 10%
major post-contact phase assignment 50%
course test 25%

Students who do not obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% for their preparatory assignment, course test and post-contact phase assignment will be deemed to have failed the course.