The Dutch automotive navigation authority has ranked Cape Town as the 48th most traffic congested city, above the likes of New York, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Melbourne, Vienna and Barcelona. The congestion rating of 35% marks a 5% increase from last year’s report, which meant an extra 42 minutes of travel time in the morning and evening peak periods last year. This adds up to a whopping 141 hours per year.
Monday mornings, in particular, are guilty of 80% congestion across the city, while Cape Town’s most congested day in 2016 was Friday 25 November. Hotspots in and around the City Bowl include Strand Street from Buitenkant all the way to Loop Street, F.W. de Klerk Boulevard (N1) from as far back as Lower Church Street in Woodstock, where F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela boulevards merge before the Walter Sisulu Avenue intersection, and the intersection of Buitengracht and Strand streets.
Other high-ranking culprits beyond the CBD include Koeberg Road heading south to the N1, Union Avenue/M3 from further south than the intersection of Newlands Avenue and Rhodes Drive, and Settlers Way/N2 especially between the R300 and Jakes Gerwel Drive/N7. Cape Town ranks above East London and Bloemfontein, which isn’t surprising. But more alarming is that it’s ranked 22 places above Johannesburg.
Despite the Gauteng’s attempts to grow its infrastructure, contributing to the endless e-tolling controversy, Johannesburg still managed to up its congestion count by 3% on major routes in and out of the city, meaning that motorists experience 37 minutes extra travel time per day.
With worsening conditions not just in Cape Town, but across the country and even the continent, travel demand management strategies are becoming more important than ever. With a city like Johannesburg proving that we can’t simply build our way out of congestion, perhaps it’s time to invest more in public transport.