The University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, the SA National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have embarked on a partnership to establish an Integrated Education, National Certification, National Reference and Research Laboratories Facility to the value of R280-million in the area of transportation.
The partnership is part of UP’s Future Transportation and Smart Cities research focus to lead South Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The future transportation hub will be housed in the new Engineering 4.0 facility on the Hillcrest campus. The completion of the facility is planned for November 2019.
This facility will consist of the accredited SANRAL National Roads Materials Reference Laboratory, training laboratory, an Accelerated Pavement Testing facility, an active traffic track for real traffic testing, and an upgraded concrete research laboratory. The facility also provides future expansion of the laboratory, and experimental and testing facilities related to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. The vision is to have a research hub where industry, academia, government and research students across the world can develop future innovation to make South Africa and Africa a smart country and continent.
The aim of the facility is to provide an internationally renowned platform for academic and vocational training support in transportation infrastructure materials testing; a national transportation materials reference testing platform for SANRAL; and high-quality research facilities and skilled staff for the continent.
According to the Infrastructure Report Card, South Africa needs to address current challenges in the transportation-engineering sector, and there is a need to train the required number of engineers, technologists, technicians and artisans in order to address the current skills gap.
In the long run the facility is expected to provide laboratories for quality training, reference testing and research in transportation engineering; a unified effort to train engineers, technologists, technicians and materials testers for the skills needed in future transport engineering, as well as postgraduate research output; and a pipeline of transport engineers that have been exposed to the latest technologies and methods.
With the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us, and the importance of smart infrastructure and big data science in driving job creation and economic growth, South Africa needs to prepare its graduates for the future world of work. This Future Transportation Hub and Smart Cities Hub is the vehicle that UP is using, in partnership with SANRAL and others.
Contact Estie Powell, UP, Tel 012 420-4937, firstname.lastname@example.org