Cape Town has SA's worst traffic

The latest TomTom survey has found that Cape Town ranks as South Africa's most congested city. Picture: David Ritchie.

The latest TomTom survey has found that Cape Town ranks as South Africa's most congested city. Picture: David Ritchie.

Published Apr 1, 2015


Cape Town - A popular GPS service provider has released the results of an international traffic congestion study it does every year, and Cape Town has emerged as the worst city in South Africa.

TomTom released figures to back up its study, done in 200 cities around the world.

While other countries experience their afternoon peak period to be the worst, South African motorists have to settle for the fact that in their cities, the morning peak is the one to try and avoid.

On the upside, no South African city is in the top 10 worst cases in the world.

According to a spokesman, TomTom traffic data indicates the global trend reveals evening rush hour to be the most congested time of day, with bottlenecks nearly doubling journey times. Last year, the average commuter spent an extra 100 hours a year travelling during rush hour.

“In this country, all major cities’ statistics showcased the morning commute as the most congested for our big cities, Monday morning being the worst,” said Carey Dodd, the marketing manager for TomTom SA.

“Globally ranked at 55, Cape Town remains the most congested city with morning commutes adding up to 72 percent of commuting time. Joburg, listed at 77, is not much better with a morning travel adding up to 59 percent to commuting time.

“In the evening, Cape Town has the worst congestion level, adding 58 percent to travel time, and Joburg adding 54 percent to travel time.”

According to the TomTom research, Pretoria has overtaken East London as the third-most congested city in South Africa. For Gauteng, the most congested traffic day was February 3 last year, when the province was ravaged by adverse weather that led to floods.


The congestion level increased everywhere with levels on non-highways still being remarkably higher than on highways, resulting in commuters spending up to 11 days a year sitting in traffic.

The worst city in the world was Istanbul with an evening peak congestion level of 109 percent and a morning peak of 76 percent. In South Africa, if you wanted to live in a city but get away from traffic, you should move to Bloemfontein, with congestion levels of 24 percent and 25 percent respectively and an overall congestion time of only 13 percent.

Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa agreed with the TomTom conclusions.

“I am certain it is quite true that our traffic congestion is worse in the morning. There seems to be a trend that everybody starts work within basically the same period of time, but not everybody leaves their places of work or their city at the same time to go home,” he said.

“There are already some companies that do make use of staggered time and that will help to stretch the peak periods and ease the congestion.”


1. Istanbul

2. Mexico City

3. Rio de Janeiro

4. Moscow

5. Salvador

6. Recife

7. Saint Petersburg

8. Bucharest

9. Warsaw

10. Los Angeles

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