While Cape Town’s traffic levels are no worse than other similar cities across the world, its citizens don’t necessarily feel the same way.
This is according to a new PwC report on Cape Town which notes that the latest Tom Tom’s Traffic Index (which uses live vehicle speeds from SatNav devices) shows congestion in Cape Town to be around 35% as of March 2018.
This means that it is worse than many smaller cities, but better off than most of the major cities covered by the study, PwC said.
“However, public sentiment paints a different picture. Using Google trends data, which tracks the popularity of a search term over time, it is possible to show how concerned residents are about one issue relative to all others,” it said.
PwC compared searches for the term ‘traffic’ in four English speaking cities – Cape Town , Johannesburg, Los Angeles (which fares badly in the PwC study and the Tom Tom index) and Sydney (which fares well in both).
“Over the course of a year, Cape Town’s searches are significantly higher than the other three cities, and that Johannesburg’s are also higher than Los Angeles,” it said.
“Several possibilities lie behind these scores. Neither Cape Town nor Johannesburg have mass-transit rail systems, meaning road is a more important part of the average commute. Cape Town also suffers from a ‘mono-mode’ spatial legacy, whereby a large majority of the jobs are in the city centre and a majority of housing is in the suburbs, resulting in inefficient ‘tidal’ passenger flows (empty buses on return journeys).”
It added that many LA residents might work in a business near to their suburban home, this is not possible for most Capetonians.
“However, it is possible that residents of Los Angeles – well known for its traffic – have been resigned to live with it and assume longer journey times, while South Africans are still motivated to search for a quicker route, or at least to make their views known publicly.”
BusinessTech looked at actual traffic data from Cape Town and Johannesburg right now.
The data is based on statistics collected from TomTom over two days (29 May – 31 May 2018), and is representative of peak traffic flow during the middle of a normal work week.
12,540km of roads were covered in Johannesburg with a typical congestion level of 17% – meaning that an average trip made takes 17% longer than it would under uncongested conditions.
7,994km of roads were covered in Cape Town, with a typical congestion level of 21%.
Looking at Tom Tom’s data over this time range, this congestion level rose to as high as 54% in Cape Town during peak traffic times and 63% in Johannesburg.
Across both regions the busiest times on the roads were between 17:00 and 18:00 in the afternoon, as well as a notable peak around 08:00 in the morning. Both regions also saw almost 0% congestion between 19:00 and 05:00.