Cape Town the most congested city in South Africa: TomTom

TomTom published its fourth annual global traffic index on Tuesday, 3 June 2014 which showed that Cape Town was the most congested city in South Africa during 2013.

In 2012, Johannesburg was ranked as the most congested city in the country in terms of road traffic.

The index uses road traffic data collected from TomTom users around the globe, which is analysed to draw conclusions about the traffic situation in large cities.

It showed that congestion on secondary roads is worse than main roads in South Africa and that commuters are spending an average of 10 working days a year stuck in traffic.

“This is creating a new set of challenges for local authorities looking for solutions to the increasing traffic problem,” TomTom said.

It also turns out that shortcuts drivers take to avoid congestion are actually “longcuts”, according to TomTom, adding 50% more travel time to journeys.

South Africa is also the only country in the world measured by TomTom to experience its worst congestion on a Monday morning while most of the world experiences their worst congestion on a Tuesday morning.

The table below summarises the standings of the South African cities whose congestion levels are tracked by TomTom:

TomTom Traffic Index 2013
SA City Global rank Congestion level
Cape Town 33 / 138 27%
Johannesburg 48 / 138 25%
East London 65 / 138 22%
Pretoria 73 / 138 22%
Durban 98 / 138 18%
Bloemfontein 134 / 138 12%

TomTom summarised the results of its congestion index for South Africa as follows:

  • South Africa has an overall congestion level of 21%.
  • South Africans spend on average an extra 13 minutes per hour stuck in traffic.
  • South Africans are spending an average of 10 working days a year stuck in traffic.
  • Cape Town experiences the most congestion during morning peak periods with a congestion level of 71%.
  • Cape Town also experiences the worst evening peak congestion period with a level of 58%.
  • All South African cities, except for East London, experience worst congestion during the morning peak periods than during the evening peak periods.
  • Bloemfontein experiences the least congestion with a level of 24% during morning peak periods and 22% during evening peak periods.
  • East London experiences the same amount of congestion during morning and evening peak periods at a level of 47%.
  • Each South African city experiences more congestion on secondary roads than on highways.
  • Cape Town and Johannesburg share the same amount of congestion levels on their secondary roads with a level of 30%.
  • Joburgers on average will cut their delay time caused by congestion in half if they take the highway as opposed to a secondary road.
  • Congestion on secondary roads in Pretoria is three times the amount on its highways.
  • On average, Capetonians will save 6 minutes for every hour during peak periods if they take the highway.
  • The report measures over 95,000km of roadways in South Africa.
  • The best morning peak days fall on a Friday for South Africans unless you live in Cape Town or Bloemfontein, then your best morning would be on a Thursday.
  • Johannesburg and East London both experience less congestion in both morning and evening peak times on a Friday
  • On the 8 March 2013 Cape Town experienced 29mm of rain. This was also the city’s most congested day, according to the report.

For the sake of comparison, here are the top 10 most congested cities in the world along with their congestion levels:

  1. Moscow: 74%
  2. Istanbul: 62%
  3. Rio de Janeiro: 55%
  4. Mexico City: 54%
  5. São Paulo: 46%
  6. Palermo: 39%
  7. Warsaw: 39%
  8. Rome: 37%
  9. Los Angeles: 36%
  10. Dublin: 35%

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Cape Town the most congested city in South Africa: TomTom