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Wednesday Jun 04, 2014

Cape Town traffic 'worst in South Africa'

Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa, a global traffic index shows.

Yesterday, navigation device maker TomTom released its fourth annual global traffic index, showing Cape Town had more traffic congestion last year than Johannesburg, which was 2012's most congested city in South Africa.

Cape Town ranked 33 on the list of the world's most congested cities.

TomTom South Africa's Daan Henderickx said data was based on commuters who used TomTom devices last year, covering more than 14 million kilometres in trips on about 19 000km of roads.

'It's not theoretical. It's real time, so it's very accurate information,' said Henderickx.

But Marianne van der Schuren, associate professor for UCT s department of civil engineering centre for transport studies, said TomTom's information should be viewed in context.

'In congested situations, most people travelling know where they're going so they won't be using their TomTom,' she said, adding government data would be a better indicator.

The index found that over 24 hours Cape Town's average congestion level was 27 percent last year, but peak morning traffic was higher at about 71 percent and evening traffic averaged about 58 percent. Henderickx said the percentage directly corresponded with how much longer it took people to get to their destination.

He said those with an average commute of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, spent 11 full days in traffic last year.

March 8 last year had the most traffic congestion. Henderickx said Cape Town experienced 29mm of rain that day.

Last year's global traffic index showed traffic congestion on secondary roads was worse than main roads and short cuts sometimes added 50 percent travel time to journeys.

Monday mornings were worst for South African drivers, against the world trend of Tuesday morning traffic being the most congested.

'Traffic congestion is nothing new and continues to be a global challenge. The traditional responses to congestion, such as building new roads or widening existing ones, are no longer proving to be effective.

'Real time traffic information can help drivers find the quickest short cut on their journey and assist governments to make smarter decisions to improve traffic flow for their cities.'

Johannesburg ranked second in South Africa, closely followed by East London and Pretoria. Moscow ranked worst in the world with 74 percent traffic congestion, followed by Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City.

Mayco member for transport Brett Herron said the city noted TomTom's findings but he was confident the city's strategies would help resolve congestion.

'Cape Town is currently experiencing a high demand for development, which is placing pressure on our transport networks,' he said.

Cape Times


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