File picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA).
File picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA).

Here’s how South Africa’s traffic volumes have changed since lockdown

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Apr 3, 2020

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Johannesburg - South Africans have been ordered to stay at home until midnight on April 16 at the earliest, but how many have actually heeded the President’s call? 

While it’s impossible to gather statistics with the necessary detail, we can get an interesting insight into the lockdown situation by comparing vehicle movements before and after the lockdown was implemented from midnight on March 26, and that’s exactly what Tracker and Lightstone have done.

Vehicle tracking specialist Tracker commissioned the research, which used its own vehicle tracking data as well as analytics provided by Lightstone, although the company did not specify exactly how the former data was gathered.

The numbers make for very interesting reading. 

The research shows that South Africans are, for the most part, doing their part to flatten the curve, with vehicle activity having dropped by 75 percent since Day 1 of the lockdown.

Interestingly, traffic volumes had already dropped by 20 percent since the beginning of March, likely owing to school closures and many companies allowing employees to work from home in the two weeks prior to lockdown.

That said, Tracker did note a slight increase in passenger vehicle activity in the two days leading up to the lockdown which, logic dictates, would have almost certainly been due to people stocking up on supplies in that narrow window between payday and lockdown. 

Which areas are most compliant?

According to Tracker, the Western Cape and Gauteng have the best compliance rates so far, with vehicle activity having fallen by between 75 percent and 80 percent during the first two days of lockdown. But when narrowed down to taxis and buses, the highest compliance rate was seen in KwaZulu-Natal, at 76 percent. 

Moving to the smaller districts, the Western Cape towns of Durbanville, Franschhoek and Noordhoek, as well as Sandton in Gauteng, showed the biggest reductions in vehicle movement, greater than 90 percent in all cases.

However, the compliance rate in some of the more financially vulnerable communities was markedly lower, with Khayelitsha and Guguletu in the Western Cape seeing reductions of less than 50 percent, while Soweto and Katlehong in Gauteng saw decreases of between 60 percent and 70 percent.

Lightstone’s Head of Data Linda Reid said it’s important to note that not all areas will be able to curtail movement to exactly the same extent.

“Some areas are more likely to have, as their residents, greater numbers of people who are still travelling as essential services workers.”

IOL Motoring

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