Motorists tired of traffic jams and lawless taxis should be thanking their lucky stars they don’t live in the Mother City.

Dutch navigation equipment maker TomTom on Wednesday released its annual traffic index, and the bad news for Cape Town is that the survey showed it was the most congested city in South Africa and ranked 47th internationally on its list of the world’s most congested cities.

The survey found that Johannesburg followed hot on Cape Town’s heels as the next worst city in the country when it comes to being delayed in traffic and was ranked 77th out of the 174 cities listed.

According to the survey Capetonians spent an extra 40 minutes, on average, in traffic every day because of congestion and Johannesburg residents about 35 minutes. But if this sounds bad, spare a thought for those in Mexico City, where congestion adds an average of 57 minutes each day. Bangkok is next, followed by Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow. Tianjin city in China comes in 12th, with several other Chinese cities reporting worsening congestion.

‘It’s getting a little more hectic’

In another survey by Numbeo which produces statistics based on user-suplied data, Johannesburg ranked 18th, Cape Town 35th, and Durban 90th in terms of congestion out of 160 cities on its “world’s worst” list.

East Coast Radio’s Traffic Guy, Johan von Bargen, said traffic in Durban was “getting a little bit more hectic”.

He blamed this, in part, on rubber-necking by drivers when there were accidents. Also exacerbating Durban traffic was the flagrant abuse of some of the emergency lanes. He said this made it difficult for emergency services to operate, endangering lives.

But Von Bargen said these problems were not unique to Durban, and were a national issue.

Architect at MaC Architects, Sheldon Jennings, said traffic congestion was a product of urbanisation and could be tackled through town planning – by creating more business hubs or “sub cities” outside the country’s CBDs.

“Urbanisation has led to towns with core CBDs and main transport arteries flowing outward to suburban areas. A growing population and an influx to the metros means this is not a sustainable long-term model for city planning,” Jennings said.

Sub-cities which would have their own business districts would ease congestion, he said. This could be done with the planning of mixed use developments.

Sub-cities have already developed, and these include Sandton City in Johannesburg and Century City in Cape Town.


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