If South Africa’s Gauteng Province is to become a more ‘sustainable’, urbanised region, attention needs to be paid to building a transportation network that aligns with sustainable development principles. Currently, public transport passenger levels are low, whilst the geographical area it serves is large and becoming larger. This study analysed the long term, historical transportation trends of Gauteng by comparing four transport studies undertaken between 1975 and 2003. It reveals that an adherence to the ‘predict and provide’ transportation planning model has systematically enhanced road infrastructure over rail, and private over public transport. Effective, efficient and low cost public transport has been systematically under-provisioned; while a reliance on private vehicles is now entrenched and systemic. Racial segregation, spatial apartheid and weak urban land use planning, has resulted in an entrenched, low-density urban sprawl. Lastly, there is the need to collect comparable, longitudinal transportation data, if the successes and failures of policies are to be monitored.