The development of a comprehensive plan for Gaborone city’s outward growth has been a subject of several workshops over the last few years. Now the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) has finally commissioned CPCS Transcom Limited, an international consultancy firm to put together the master plan. According to the Ministry, CPCS started their survey work on 7 May and will produce a National Multi Modal Transport Master Plan and the Greater Gaborone Transport Master Plan. 40 enumerators will conduct various surveys and traffic counts at different sites across the country including Tlokweng, Gabane and Molepolole roads.
Since the year 2000, villages surrounding the capital city have seen an explosion in population as people migrated to the city in search of better life prospects. As a result, there was high demand for housing in Gaborone, and consequently rentals shot up forcing people to seek cheaper accommodation in the outskirts villages such as Tlokweng, Mmopane, Oodi, Mochudi, Metsimotlhabe and others. This outward growth has far outpaced the development of infrastructure, specifically roads in those new areas causing heavy traffic jams at peak hours.
Previously, there were ideas of an intercity train as part of the efforts to alleviate growing traffic congestions, and the Ministry does not rule out such developments. It stresses that the results of the surveys will guide the development of new transport polices and strategies that are area specific and for the whole country.
Recent reports have pointed out that while the road infrastructure remains a major cause of traffic woes, poorly managed public transport system also contributes to the problem because people prefer privately owned cars to public transport. This explains the continued rise in private vehicle ownership. According to Statistics Botswana, during Q4 2014, 11,740 vehicles were registered and 72.6 per cent of them being passenger cars. When compared to the same quarter of the previous year, registrations rose by 5.2 percent from 11,155 vehicles registered in Q4 2013 to 11,740 vehicles registered in Q4 2014. On a quarter to quarter basis, there was an increase of 4.7 per cent in first registrations from 11,211 vehicles during Q3 2014 to 11,740 vehicles during Q4 2014.
Former Transport Minister Nonofo Molefhi has previously told the media that government was in need of approximately P1.5 billion on annual basis to maintain roads and improve infrastructure, government can only generate P720 million from the current fuel levy.