The worst South African city to drive in: Joburg vs Cape Town

German car and spare parts retailer, Kfzteile24 has released its list of the 50 best and worst global cities to drive in – with two South African cities, Joburg and Cape Town ranked.

The study examined several factors related to driving in cities – congestion levels, public transport options, average cost of parking, cost of fuel, average speeds, levels of air pollution, accidents and fatalities, road quality and the frequency/perception of road rage.

The final list of 100 cities (split into the 50 best and 50 worst) was determined by looking at 500 cities across the globe that have the highest number of registered motor vehicles. The list was then narrowed down to 100 and included Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Overall, South Africa’s cities were ranked in the ‘worst’ half of the list, with Cape Town (62nd) ranked only a few notches above Joburg (67th).

The stand-out comparisons between the two cities come in congestion levels, where Joburg has higher traffic levels, but much faster travel times than Cape Town. The mother city has cheaper parking, and cleaner air – but also has more aggressive drivers, according to the study.

Where both cities tie up (with stats taken from national data), is in relatively decent levels of road quality (scoring almost 7 out of 10) – but terrible levels of road traffic injuries, with a score barely above 1 out of 10.

The levels of road traffic injuries in South Africa are ranked second-worst in the study, below only Bangkok, Thailand.

Here’s how Joburg and Cape Town compare on each of the ten indicators measured by the study.

Indicator Joburg Cape Town
Congestion level (%) 47% 35%
Gasoline (US$/litre) $0.96 $0.96
Diesel (US$/litre) $0.96 $0.96
Cost of parking (US$/hour) $1.93 $1.02
Downtown – Airport speed (mph) 26.80 mph 17.50 mph
 Scores out of 10
Public transport alternative (score) 7.77 7.19
Road quality (score) 6.87 6.87
Road rage (score) 4.74 3.70
Air pollution (score) 1.73 2.18
Road traffic injuries (score) 1.09 1.09

According to Kfzteile24, Dusseldorf in Germany is ranked as the best city to drive in the world, with high quality roads, and low levels of danger (from accidents or other angry drivers). Dubai in the UAE is ranked second, followed by Zurich, Switzerland, and Tokyo, Japan.

Looking at each individual indicator, the top- and bottom-ranked cities are as follows:

  • Bern (Switzerland) and Rotterdam (Netherlands) have the lowest levels of traffic congestion (19%) – while Koltaka, India has the highest (69%).
  • Lagos (Nigeria) has the cheapest gasoline ($0.46 per litre) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) has the cheapest diesel ($0.47 per litre). Hong Kong and and Oslo (Norway) have the highest costs ($1.94 and $1.70 per litre, respectively).
  • Tokyo (Japan) has the best alternative public transport available (10/10), while Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) has the worst (1/10).
  • New York, USA has the most expensive parking ($27.61 per hour), while Kolkata, India has the cheapest parking ($0.31 per hour).
  • Oslo has the fasted average speed between downtown and the airport (44.10 mph), while Lisbon (Portugal) and Mumbai (India) have the lowest average (8.10 mph).
  • Calgary, Canada, has the cleanest air (10/10), while Lagos is the most polluted (1/10).
  • Swiss cities (Bern, Geneva and Basel)all rank highest as having the least amount of traffic injuries (10/10), while Thailand ranks the lowest (1/10) – just below Cape Town and Johannesburg (1.1/10).
  • Four French cities, Manchester (UK) and Helsinki (Finland) all rank top for road quality (10/10), and Bucharest, Romania, ranks as having the worst roads in the world (1/10).
  • Bordeaux (France) and Helsinki have the friendliest drivers – and St Petersburg drivers are the angriest, scoring 1/10 for road rage.

Read: Why it’s way more stressful to live in Joburg than in Cape Town

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The worst South African city to drive in: Joburg vs Cape Town