R750 million to fight traffic in SA’s most congested city

Speaking at a traffic summit held in Cape Town, city mayor Patricia de Lille said the Western Cape government will spend R750 million to improve levels of traffic congestion in the city.

The R750 million would be paid over the next five years, de Lille said, with R40 million paid in the current financial year.

“Congestion comes at a great cost, with time and money being lost, but also in terms of pollution and its long-term effect on our environment,” the mayor said.

According to a study by GPS group TomTom, Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa, where motorists spend as much as 11 days a year sitting in traffic.

Tom Tom Divisional Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa Daan Hendricks said travel times in Cape Town have increased exponentially over the years, with commuters needing to add about 27% to their travel times.

Numbeo’s 2015 Traffic Index showed that Cape Town is South Africa’s most traffic congested city, on par with Bangalore, India, and just under some major cities such as Mexico City and Bangkok.

According to the Index, Cape Town in the 23rd most congested city in the world, out of 165 cities.

Three South Africa cities feature on the index, with Cape Town (227.71) leading ahead of Pretoria (198.55) and Johannesburg (192.68).

On average, Capetonians can expect to spend an extra 47 minutes sitting in traffic, while Pretoria drivers suffer through 43 added minutes, and Joburg drivers 40 minutes.

“With our partners we now have to decide – how do we bring immediate relief to some areas, specifically three areas in the city that are very very bad.”

De Lille pointed to Kuilsriver, Kommetjie, and Blouberg as key priorities.

In order to combat the scourge of congestion, De Lille called on the private sector to play a role – by considering implementing flexi-time for employees or incentivising workers and staff to use public transport.

CEO of the V&A Waterfront David Green said that improvements in the My CiTi Bus and train systems would help ease traffic – while road capacity needed to be addressed to attract investment.

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R750 million to fight traffic in SA’s most congested city