The average road network speed in Gauteng will drop from 47km/h to 29km/h by 2037 based on current data and looking at a “best-performing scenario”.
This is according to Coenie Vermaak, the CEO of Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) – which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Austrian-based Kapsch Group.
Doing nothing, or failing to construct new freeway links and upgrade the current infrastructure, will result in an average speed of below 10km/h.
He warned that if the second and third phases of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project do not kick off soon, freeway congestion is expected to slow traffic to below 30km/h.
Vermaak added that a lack of action will mean that Gauteng’s road network will be in the same position it was in 2008.
Public transport not helping
Many people view public transport as a solution to traffic congestion in Gauteng, but Vermaak debunked this theory.
He explained that public transport share has declined from 51% in mid-1990s to the current 38%.
Vehicle ownership, in comparison, had doubled since 1994 to 12 million registered users – of which 39% are in Gauteng.
He said 220 cars are added to the Gauteng road network each day, and that there will be 3.1 million motorised trips in the average peak hour in Gauteng by 2037.
e-Toll non-compliance a problem
Vermaak said the non-compliance in paying e-tolls has effectively frozen Sanral’s ability to maintain and expand the country’s road networks.
He said that the R22 billion originally invested in the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project has escalated to R40.5 billion due to interest on debts.
“With phase two of the project postponed indefinitely, it will lead to congestion and impossibly long commute times,” Vermaak said.
“In the end, taxpayers will still pay for it. Even if we shut down the system, even if we starve it, we as citizens of South Africa will have to pay this debt,” he said.