Passenger Modal Shift from Road to Rail – The Gautrain Case (South Africa)

General Information of the NAMA

Country South Africa
National implementing entity (NAMA owner) National Department of Transport
Development stage Implementation
International partners Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Duration 2010-ongoing
Type of NAMA Unilateral
Type of action Shift
Scope of action Sub-national
Type of approach Project
Transport mode Bus, Rail


The Gautrain project forms part of an integrative approach to national transport transformation that promotes economic and social development. The modal shift brought on by the Gautrain electric rail carries GHG mitigation benefits through the provision of a more efficient centrally managed mass transit system. As a NAMA, the Gautrain’s modal shift of passenger road to rail may also guide similar efforts in the context of GHG mitigation, and in general promote the sustainability of larger public transit modal shift initiatives.


This NAMA covers the modal shift of private passenger vehicles to the Gautrain electric rail directly, or through the feeder bus system. The spatial extents of many of the benefits are restricted to the Gautrain service corridor, which is itself an area of economic stimulus within the Gauteng Provincial Government. The NAMA is expected to be on-going, especially in light of Gautrain expansion and integration into national mass transit networks.

Transformational impact

The Gautrain project itself is based on the Gauteng Provincial Government’s intention to develop economic infrastructure for major projects in smart industries and stimulate private sector investment in growth sectors of the Gauteng economy through partnership with business and government. The alignment of these goals within the framework of a NAMA ensures that any such development at least considers the impact of GHG emissions. This then empowers the Gautrain project to align itself with South Africa’s climate change response strategies.

Implementing entity and partners

  • National Department of Transport – NAMA submitter and national strategic transport planning
  • National Department of Environmental Affairs – NAMA and GHG advisory
  • Gautrain Management Agency – Managing Gautrain
  • Gauteng Provincial Government – Gautrain project initiator
  • Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport – Managing Gautrain through the Gautrain Management Agency

Mitigation potential

GHG mitigations are expected to arise from the shift from private passenger vehicles to mass transit electric rail. CO2 emissions mitigated will be estimated through the yet to be established MRV system which is still in development.

The Gautrain represents a catalyst for further passenger road to rail modal shifts nationally. As a NAMA it will establish the alignment of such projects with national climate policy, thereby enabling a GHG mitigation approach to these projects.


The costs of financing the design and implementation of the Gautrain have already been incurred. Now that the project is being framed as a NAMA, remaining costs will relate to integration and expansion of the Gautrain such that mitigation actions may be more relevant nationally and may thus be funded through national strategies and plans to develop the modal shift from passenger road to rail. These therefore also include the administration of the NAMA (including the MRV component), capactiy bulding and awareness raising.

Preparation of the NAMA will entail not only developing the necessary submissions for the registry, but also the design of the MRV. Additional costs may be incurred due to engagement across national governmental departments to align or orientate the Gautrain operational and expansion phase with national climate policy.



Once the MRV approach design has been completed and accepted, the MRV is to be implemented and maintained by the Department of Transport, with supporting roles from members within the TRANSfer team, which should vitally include Gautrain Management Agency.

  • National Department of Transport
    1. Engage with data providers to establish sustainable data flow and institute requests for data.
    2. Engage with GIZ TRANSfer and National Department of Environmental Affairs to agree on necessary indicators and methodologies for calculation. Indicators should be flexible enough to be indicative of a nationally successful mitigation action (e.g. the planned expansion and integration of Gautrain into public networks), such that the MRV may be applicable to a NAMA.
    3. Engage with GIZ TRANSFER and National Department of Environmental Affairs to agree on reporting structure.
    4. Populate report structure with output from 2)
    5. Identify, together with National Department of Environmental Affairs, independent external experts for review process and implement first review.
    6. Implement internal data quality checks that are developed during first review.
    7. Implement through identified experts a review if warranted by National Communications to UNFCCC or if any methodologies and data streams change.
  • National Department of Environmental Affairs
    1. Support GIZ TRANSFER and National Department of Transport to develop indicators and methodology for calculation
    2. Support GIZ TRANSFER and National Department of Transport to develop reporting structure
    3. Support National Department of Transport in identifying external experts for review of MRV.
  • Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport
    1. Engage with National Department of Transport and the identified data providers to establish sustainable data flow. This is particularly so for data from SANRAL and Gautrain. The Gautrain Management Agency may be mandated to provide data.
  • Gauteng Provincial Government
    1. Engage with National Department of Transport and the identified data providers to establish sustainable data flow.

Data storage plan Many of the raw data will be collected outside of the implementing body. However, for the verification, it will be necessary for the implementing body to have access to the raw data as well as the processed data (as applicable) that are the inputs into the MRV system. Thus, the data storage by the implementing body will include not only the processed data, but also the raw data, and meta-data, that are applicable to the MRV system.

The needed data for GHG and co-benefits would come from 21 identified sources. The variety of data requirements indicates a potential for bottlenecks, either due to sheer volume of requests or lack of institutional cooperation/buy in. This may be particularly so for data from Gautrain and the eNATIS database. The consistent requirement of these datasets (annually) highlights the need for formal agreements between the official data holders (and their data administrators) and the implementing body of the NAMA.


The acceptance of this NAMA depends on a functional MRV system able to illustrate the GHG mitigation benefits of the modal shift due to Gautrain. Through the MRV data streams it will also be possible to evaluate various co-benefits. The impact categories and their associated indicators are listed below:

  • GHG benefit: Net CO2e emission reductions
  • Environmental benefit: Net air pollutant emission reductions
  • Transport benefit: Corridor and service throughput; Cost efficiency; Service quality; Access
  • Economic benefit: Economic development; Job creation
  • Social benefit: Safety



  • Air pollution emission reduction


  • Service quality Access
  • Safety improvement


  • Economic development Job creation
  • Transport system
  • Corridor and service throughput
  • Cost efficiency