Corridors of Freedom for a people-centred city

big idea

Transport-orientated development will see Joburg overturn apartheid-era town planning, by bringing services, schools and work opportunities closer to home for those living on the city’s outskirts.



Mayor Herman Mashaba

The shape of the future city will consist of well-planned transport arteries – the Corridors of Freedom – linked to interchanges where the focus will be on mixed-use development.

Joburgers will then not have to use private motorised transport but can opt for the alternative means, which include cycling, bus lanes and pedestrian walkways.

The Corridors of Freedom will transform entrenched settlement patterns, which have shunted the majority of residents to the city’s outskirts, away from economic opportunities and access to jobs and growth.

Gone will be the days of being forced to rise at dawn to catch a train, bus or taxi to a place of work. Families will be able to have quality time, with spouses and children sharing meals together in the evening.

Access to opportunity

The Corridors of Freedom will usher a new era of access to opportunity and a choice for residents to work, stay and play within the same space, without the inconvenience and high costs of travelling long distances every day.

The transit-orientated developments include the Bus Rapid Transit system, Rea Vaya, which will have fast, safe and affordable mobility along the corridors.

Thus these corridors – the Corridors of Freedom - will give residents increased freedom of movement as well as economic freedom – liberating them from apartheid spatial legacy characterised by informal settlements, poor schooling and limited recreational spaces.

Johannesburg’s transport system will comprise well-planned transport arteries: - the Corridors of Freedom – linked to mixed-use development nodes with high density accommodation supported by office buildings, retail developments and opportunities for education, leisure and recreation.

This will give rise to a people-centred city where communities’ needs, their safety, comfort and economic well-being are placed at the core of planning and delivery processes. The Corridors of Freedom will result in reduced poverty for the majority of the City’s residents, who are currently spending a large percentage of their income on transport.

The new city skyline will see high-rise residential developments growing around the transit nodes, gradually decreasing in height and density as they move further away from the core. Social infrastructure, schools, clinics, police stations and government offices will be strategically located to support the growing population.

Through the Corridors of Freedom Johannesburg will make a decisive turn towards a low-carbon future with eco-efficient infrastructure that underpins a sustainable environment.

Targeted areas

Over the course of this year consultations will be held with residents and stakeholders to finalise the corridors’ routes and nodes. The consultations will focus on the following areas:

In the medium term - 2016

  • Soweto to the Central Business District (CBD) along Perth Empire
  • CBD to Alexandra
  • Alexandra to Sandton
  • Turfontein node
  • Mining Belt

In the long term - 2040

  • Sandton/Randburg to Diepsloot
  • Alexandra to Ivory Park

Apartheid spatial planning has left the city with sprawling low-density areas without viable public transport systems. The majority of working class and poor citizens are still living on the fringes of the CBD and have to commute distances to get to work.

Private car use is a significant driver of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the city. A 10%shift of private car users to public transport for their daily commute will result in an 8% reduction in energy consumption.

Future planning must address sustainability and inequity. The most efficient urban form is compact, mixed land-use with an extensive public transport network that includes high intensity movement corridors and with attractive environments for walking and cycling.

Such a compact city is energy efficient, provides residents with greater access to services, promotes social cohesion and creates a vibrant urban environment.

The Corridors of Freedom key features are:

  • Safe neighbourhoods designed for cycling and walking, with sufficient facilities and attractive street conditions;
  • Safe complete streets with features to calm traffic, control vehicle speeds and discourage private transport use;
  • Mixed-use developments where residential areas, office parks, shops, schools and other public services are close together, stimulating economic activity and creating opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs;
  • Rich and poor, black and white living side by side - housing options provided cover a range of types - including rental accommodation - and prices;
  • Limited managed parking to reduce the amount of land devoted to parking and further discourage the use of private transport; and
  • Convenient transit stops and stations.

Developing dedicated transport corridors holds a number of advantages for Joburg:

  • The City will focus productive land use and economic activities in areas where transport infrastructure – rail and road – are already present or being planned;
  • The demand for private motorised transport will be reduced and the average trip length will be shortened;
  • Public transport will become a viable alternative because residents will live in closer proximity to work, shopping and leisure opportunities;
  • High-density housing will stimulate opportunities for the SMME sector and small-scale operators in the informal economy;
  • The environmental impact of public transport in high-density areas will be significantly smaller than in the case of low-density urban sprawl reliant on private cars;
  • Residents will benefit because they will not have to spend so much time and money on transport;
  • Learners will benefit because they will be closer to schools;
  • Unemployed people will benefit because it will be easier to get to places to look for work;
  • Factories will benefit because workers will come to work on time;
  • Shopping centres and hawkers will benefit along the corridors and nodes due to increased numbers of people passing their shops;
  • Our environment (and our lungs) will benefit with less private car use and the associated dangerous carbon emissions;
  • Construction and other related industries will benefit because of the job opportunities throughout the lifetime of the project.