Chenjerai Mbara – University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Sustainability has become a buzz word within the socio-economic development agenda. Sustainability creates and maintains conditions under which society can cope and viably support livelihood requirements. Lack of economic growth and a rapid rise in urban population have created unintended consequences impacting on the economy, social fabric and the environment. Africa is urbanizing at an annual growth rate of 3.4% (United Nations 2011). Zimbabwe, akin other developing countries is also urbanizing at a high rate. Ironically, as urban population grew, conventional public transport declined, mainly as a result of an adverse operational environment. The twin factors of increasing population and the dearth of conventional public transport stimulated the growth of the informal public transport and private car ownership. As the informal sector and private motorisation expands, the city’s main urban public space is increasingly more congested impeding rather than facilitating the urban population’s ability to access the required social and economic services. A clear mismatch between the demand for traffic space and its availability is evident. Demand for traffic space exceeds its supply, inevitably resulting in congestion which can be protracted. Urban productivity is key to the growth of our urban economies and this requires the provision of a reliable, efficient transport system to move goods and labour. The paper examines and assesses the various strategies that can contribute to achieving a sustainable urban transport system. Data was collected through unstructured interviews from key stakeholders in both private and public sector. Stakeholders are agreed on the need to improve transport in Harare and proffered solutions which included mass transit, infrastructure improvements, institutional capacity and good governance among others.