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Cape’s morning traffic worst in SA

Cape Town. 230213. Traffic on the N1 incoming were backup until Canalwalk after two trucks overturned and lost their loads. Picture leon lestrade

Cape Town. 230213. Traffic on the N1 incoming were backup until Canalwalk after two trucks overturned and lost their loads. Picture leon lestrade

Published Nov 12, 2013


Cape Town drivers waste 96 hours a year in traffic snarl-ups. At its worst, local traffic demands an extra 43 minutes for every hour travelled.

These are two findings to emerge from a “traffic index”, a study by the manufacturers of TomTom GPS navigation devices.

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To calculate these figures, the company analysed data shared with it by TomTom device owners, over 781km in greater Cape Town.

The parameters were a ring linking Cape Town, Hout Bay, Muizenberg, Mitchells Plain, the R300, Bellville and Blouberg and everything inside this ring.

They analysed speeds over 781km of roads, 258km of highways and 523km of other roads, over a total of 670 901km driven by owners of their devices.

First they calculated the average travel time at it lowest, on every route - when traffic flowed freely.

Then they assessed average travel times over a 24 hour period, over three months, and arrived at the conclusion that Cape Town had a “congestion level” of 27 percent.


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But the real time killer on Cape Town’s roads was found to be the morning rush hour – at 92 percent, meaning an hour-long commute typically takes two hours. And that’s an average.

Compared with 168 cities in South Africa and 39 other countries around the world, this made Cape Town the third-most congested, after Moscow and Rio de Janeiro.

South Africa was the only African country monitored.

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The “TomTom Traffic Index” found in its analysis of the country’s cities:

Johannesburg:31 percent. Morning peak 79 percent, evening peak 73 percent, highways 20 percent, non-highways 38 percent.

East Rand North:28 percent. Morning peak 65 percent, evening peak 79 percent, highways 18 percent, non-highways 38 percent.

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Cape Town:27 percent. Morning peak 92 percent, evening peak 61 percent, highways 24 percent, non-highways 31 percent

Pretoria:23 percent. Morning peak 52 percent, evening peak 49 percent, highways 8 percent, non-highways 32 percent.

Durban:20 percent. Morning peak 49 percent, evening peak 46 percent, highways 15 percent, non-highways 31 percent.

East Rand South:18 percent. Morning peak 34 percent, evening peak 39 percent, highways 3 percent, non-highways 30 percent.


City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said of Cape Town’s congestion in general: “We’re aware of a number of hotspots because there are more cars on the road than the roads can accommodate. But it’s not unmanageable.

“In those areas, despite prioritising public transport, we remain aware that we need to increase road capacity, and complete missing road links. In particular in the Kraaifontein, Table View and Kommetjie areas - these are growth areas where’s there’s lots of development pressure and this compounds the roads capacity constraints.”

On the subject of highways in particular, Herron said the N1 and N2 were the most problematic.

“We don’t believe that the amount required to invest in bigger, wider highways is justified. Instead, we need to focus on public transport, getting more people on to high-occupancy vehicles.

“This is the same argument we have with the Sanral toll roads. What we need instead is smarter mobility. This has been proven all over the world. There’s sufficient evidence that building new highways only encourages more car use.” - Cape Argus

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