EcoMobility Festival by the numbers: Gautrain and Uber win, but Park & Rides fail

Sandton’s EcoMobility Festival is drawing to a close on Saturday, and at the final press conference today a number of interesting facts and figures about people’s behaviour in Sandton for the month of October were revealed.

Throughout the month of October, the City of Johannesburg embarked on a project that saw major roads in the central business district closed off for private vehicles.

Residents and workers in the area were encouraged to make use of public transports, dedicated cycle lanes and walking to get to their destination.

The charts below are the result of an online survey conducted by SCMB in partnership with Growthpoint and Arup.

How are you affected by congestion in Sandton If you changed your mode of transport, what mode(s) did you chnage to Mode of transport normally used Opinion of people who used managed lanes Where do people who cycled come from

The charts below are the result of an online survey conducted by the Gauteng City-region Observatory (GCRO). The survey will remain open until 31 October, and the final results will be released next week.

How do you get into Sandton

Based on the figures above, which show that a fair number of people did give up their cars in favour of bikes, buses, trains and walking, GCRP noted that when forced to commuters will change their modes of transport.

One question we’ve put to the organisers, however, is why were the Park & Ride schemes so unpopular. According to figures we’ve seen, many Park & Rides were almost entirely unused, with only Brightwater Commons making any impact at all.

On two car counts we’ve conducted their over the course of the month we reckon about 150-200 cars a day used it – although the passengers we interviewed said they did so grudgingly.

Balfour Park, a park and ride next to our office, often went for days without a single P&R user parking up.

How satisfied are you

According to GCRP, the dissatisfaction with moving within Sandton clearly shows how much work still needs to be done to improve public transport. In their defence, a quarter of respondents were said they were satisfied or very satisfied.

What did people really think?

IBM put its Watson supercomputer to work running sentiment analysis on social media around the EcoMobility festival. It found some interesting results, suggesting that almost three time more Tweets were positive about EcoMobility than complained about it.

Overall sentiment on social mediaAccording to IBM, Twitter users:

  • 6 100 people tweeted about EcoMobility
  • The tweets mentioning EcoMobility numbered around 17 000
  • Through Twitter, the EcoMobility Festival had a minimum reach of 5.8 million people
  • The average reach was 26 million
  • The festival had around 350 million Twitter impressions

According to IBM, the height of the Twitter activity surrounding EcoMobility spiked on the first day of the festival, several mentions the following week, and then tapering off towards the end. There was another spike in Twitter mentions when the scaffolding from a bridge being constructed over the M1 highway collapsed.

The chart below plots the sentiment that commuters felt towards certain streets, nodes and stations during the festival.

[Note: the exact numbers for the chart wasn’t disclosed, so all figures are estimates]

Sentiment towards streets, stations and nodes

With the bridge collapse, the hashtag #bridgecollapse generated 51% negative sentiment towards the festival and only 2% positive. IBM notes that four hours later, negative sentiment dropped by 7% while positive sentiment increased to 51%.

While no reason was given for the increase, it could possibly be attributed to the fact that certain barriers were removed to alleviate the flow of congestive traffic away from the accident.

To ease the flow on the day, Putco and Gautrain buses were also made available for free.

The chart below demonstrates commuters sentiment towards the modes of transport offered during the festival.

[Note: the exact numbers for the chart wasn’t disclosed, so all figures are estimates]

Social sentiment towards modes of transport

The chart below plots what commuters and residents felt about the on-going elements of the festival.

Social media's sentiments on the practicality of the festival

[Note: the exact numbers for the chart wasn’t disclosed, so all figures are estimates]

And there’s more numbers from the City of Johannesburg that we’re still ploughing through. Here’s the precis they gave out.

  • 15 000 people attended at least 10 large scale events
  • Over 4 000 people participated in the Freedom Ride
  • 47 speakers from more than 20 countries attended the EcoMobility World Dialogues
  • Gautrain increased its ridership by 8.1%
  • Commuters from Randburg and Fourways who used public transport was able to save 15 minutes per trip into Sandton
  • Five times more people walked along West street during the festival
  • 100 taxis provided free taxi services around Sandton
  • The hashtag #joburgecomobility had approximately 26 million impressions on social media

[Image – City of Johannesburg]




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