Traffic in South Africa’s most congested cities is getting worse

Inrix released its 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard, revealing the most and least-congested cities in South Africa.

Inrix’s report uses three years worth of mobility data for an encompassing analysis of mobility in cities worldwide.

Based on its analysis, the most congested city in South Africa is Cape Town. Welkom is the least congested among the top ten, and also one of the least congested cities tracked in the report.

These are the top ten congested cities in South Africa, ranked from most to least-congested:

  1. Cape Town
  2. Johannesburg
  3. Port Elizabeth
  4. Pretoria
  5. Pietermaritzburg
  6. East London
  7. Bloemfontein
  8. Durban
  9. Vanderbijlpark
  10. Welkom

Cape Town is ranked the 43rd most-congested city in the world, and Johannesburg is the only other South African city in the top 100 worldwide.

Both these cities have seen their world ranking shift closer to the most-congested cities in the world, with Cape Town’s ranking climbing from 95th in 2020 to 43rd in 2021, and Johannesburg moving from being ranked 139th to 71st in 2021.

Inrix’s report also provides insight into aspects such as last-mile speeds — the average speed of travel within 1.6km of the city centre — and hours lost on average due to traffic jams.

As the South African city with the most traffic, Cape Town residents lost 59 hours on average a year to congestion. South Africans living in Welkom lost less than one hour to congestion.

The most-congested cities, their world rank, and average hours lost in congestion are summarised in the table below.

Traffic congestion in South Africa
City South African rank World rank Hours lost in congestion
Cape Town 1st 43rd 59
Johannesburg 2nd 71st 48
Port Elizabeth 3rd 155th 41
Pretoria 4th 197th 38
Pietermaritzburg 5th 315th 33
East London 6th 353rd 30
Bloemfontein 7th 420th 24
Durban 8th 524th 19
Vanderbijlpark 9th 776th 11
Welkom 10th 1,010th 0

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Traffic in South Africa’s most congested cities is getting worse