TRAFFIC congestion in Cape Town exceeded that of Johannesburg from 2013 as a result of the upgrades to the Gauteng Freeway network which had a positive effect in reducing congestion in the country’s economic powerhouse.
This is according to an analysis by Stellenbosch University’s Smart Mobility Laboratory, which aims to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions within the field of intelligent transport systems.
The Smart Mobility Lab provided an expert analysis of the 2016 TomTom Traffic Index Report released this week. According to the index Cape Town remains the most congested city in South Africa and is ranked 47th in the world. Johannesburg was ranked second in South Africa, while East London was third. This year, Mexico City was classified as the most congested city in the world, followed by Bangkok, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.
The TomTom Traffic Index considers traffic congestion in 295 cities in 38 countries across the globe. According to TomTom, congestion globally has increased 13% since 2008.
“The annual progression of the TomTom Traffic Index data clearly reflects the impact of intervention projects on congestion such as the recent major Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme. A significant reduction in the Traffic Index is observed following the roll out of the freeway improvements between 2010 and 2012,” the Smart Mobility Lab states.
Cape Town has a Traffic Index of 30%, which means that drivers will experience an average increase of trip length of 30% throughout the day. During the morning peak period, Capetonians can expect to add an additional 71% to free flowing travel time. Johannesburg has a daily Traffic Index of 27%, and a morning peak hour index of 60%.
The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said recently that growing congestion on Cape Town roads was having an adverse effect on businesses and forcing many to consider relocating or changing office hours to avoid the worst of morning and evening peak-hour traffic.
“It seems we are no longer dealing with rush hours but rush periods which can last for two or three hours,” said Chamber president Janine Myburgh.
Last year the City of Cape Town said it would spend R750m over five years to ease its mounting traffic problem. The money would be spent on improving infrastructure along major routes, mayor Patricia de Lille said at the time.
The TomTom data also reveals that in South Africa small cities have shown an increased rate of growth in congestion of nearly 7% per annum, which is far higher than the rate observed in larger cities in South Africa and worldwide-typically found to be between 1.5% and 3% per annum. The Smart Mobility Lab says this could reflect the rate of urbanisation in developing countries, particularly in smaller cities and highlights the urgent need for infrastructure and traffic management projects in these countries.
Ralf-Peter Schaefer, vice president of TomTom Traffic, said the Traffic Index is released every year to help drivers, cities and transport planners to understand traffic congestion trends and how to improve congestion globally.
“We really want everybody to think about how they can lower the amount of time they waste in traffic every day — and to realise that we all need to play a part. If even just 5% of us changed our travel plans, we would improve travel times on our major highways by up to 30%. Collectively, we can all work together to beat traffic congestion.”