The cities with the worst traffic in South Africa – and how load shedding has made it so much worse

Inrix has released its Global Traffic Scorecard for 2018.

The scorecard is an analysis of congestion and mobility trends in more than 200 cities, across 38 countries.

More than 500 terabytes were considered as part of the report, with Inrix covering more than 5 million miles (8.04 million km) of road, combined with other data sources like global parking, fuel, points of interest, public transport and road weather information.

Despite this wide range of data points, the research shows that most motorists share similar habits – spending approximately 30 minutes on average going to or from work.

In addition, the majority of motorists said that they are unwilling to spend more than one hour per day commuting.

Unsurprisingly the data also shows that there is not only a time loss but also an economic loss (measured by an impact score) the longer motorists spend in traffic.

“While congestion incurs costs from time loss, increased pollution rates, and higher incidents of accidents, its presence is indicative of positive economic trends and a city’s desirability,” Inrix said.

“Higher density and population correlate directly with economic growth and innovation rates, while their cooccurrence has a multiplier effect. The larger and denser the city is the more significant the benefits accrued to an individual city.”

South Africa

Inrix found that Cape Town has the worst congestion in South Africa – falling just outside of the top 25 most congested in the world cities in the world at 28th.

It is followed by Pretoria (54th), Johannesburg (82nd) and Durban (160th).

While the research shows that congestion in Cape Town has marginally improved over the last year (-4%), motorists can still expect to lose 162 hours in traffic every year – or just under a week.

By comparison, Pretoria motorists spend 143 hours (5.95 days) in traffic each year, while Johannesburg motorists lose 119 hours (4.95 days).

The county’s traffic issues have been compounded this week following the reintroduction of load shedding.

A BusinessTech poll of 3,584 readers found that traffic (20%) was only behind loss of business as one of the things that South Africans hate most about load shedding.

This has been acknowledged by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who said that he was aware that motorists were angry about the longer commute times.

“People are upset because they get jammed in traffic for two hours when the traffic lights are not working,” he told Jacaranda following a cabinet meeting in Cape Town.

However, he urged South Africans not to panic as government looked at solutions to the power crisis.

“In some ways we have been here before and we came out on the other side of the river and we will address this issue, and this challenge and this problem and we will find solutions. Solutions are actually emerging and we will be okay,” he said.

According to TomTom data there has been a notable increase in traffic this week in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.

While load shedding has undoubtedly played a roll in this congestion, the issue has also been compounded by wet weather over much of the country as South African motorists deal with no traffic lights and a lack of street lighting.

Johannesburg

Durban

Cape Town


Read: Parliament approves new demerit system for South African motorists

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The cities with the worst traffic in South Africa – and how load shedding has made it so much worse