Worst traffic in SA? Joburg no longer tops in congestion


Johannesburg – Johannesburg has seen a significant improvement in traffic congestion, reports TomTom in its 2017 Traffic Index. The report detailing the worst traffic congestion in South Africa.

In a study of 390 cities around the world, Johannesburg – South Africa’s most densely populated city – stands out for its implementation of, says TomTom, "effective traffic management systems", earning special recognition from an international panel of traffic experts. 

TomTom is celebrating those cities that have beat traffic congestion with the introduction of its  TomTom Traffic Index awards.

READ: Traffic woes - And the most congested city in SA is...

Six cities have been chosen for special recognition by an international panel of traffic experts. Each expert nominated three cities and subsequently all experts voted to determine the award-winning cities from the nominated cities. Along with Johannesburg, winners include Moscow, Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro. 

View the full list of winners here. 

Most congested cities in South Africa: Overall daily congestion level 
1 Cape Town 35%
2 Johannesburg 30%
3 East London 29%
4 Pretoria 26%
5 Durban 22%

Image by TomTom

While Johannesburg has long been considered South Africa’s most traffic-congested city, the TTTI shows a marked improvement in the biggest metropolitan municipality’s ranking since 2009. Johannesburg has also surpassed Cape Town’s traffic congestion rating on the Index, ranking 70th globally with Cape Town positioned in 48th place.

Image by TomTom

Do you agree with the list? Which SA city do you believe has the worst traffic, and why? Tell us via emailFacebook and Twitter.

Johannesburg has, however, experienced a 3% increase in traffic congestion since 2015 and currently sits at a congestion level of 30%. Traffic congestion has also worsened in Cape Town by 5%, to a new average level of 35%.

Megan Bruwer, project coordinator for the Stellenbosch Smart Mobility Laboratory, says: "Infrastructure development is a major contributing factor to Johannesburg’s improved ranking in the TomTom Traffic Index.

"The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, Open Road Tolling and numerous ITS applications implemented along freeway corridors have also had a positive impact on traffic congestion, not to mention the establishment of the Gautrain."

Looking at TomTom’s historical data, traffic congestion is up by 23% globally since 2008 and 10% on 2015. The TomTom Traffic Index also provides useful comparative information between South Africa’s major metropolitan municipalities, with both Johannesburg and Pretoria indicating a decrease in traffic congestion between 2009 and 2012 and maintaining a relatively even traffic congestion rating in the following three years.

READ: Traffic woes - And the most congested city in SA is...

Etienne Louw, TomTom South Africa’s managing director, says: "Throughout South Africa, TomTom is empowering traffic authorities and key decision makers at all levels of government with highly-accurate historical and real-time insights into traffic flows and incidents.

"Coupled with the real-time traffic information provided by TomTom’s navigation solutions, existing road infrastructure can be utilised with increased efficiency to counter rising traffic congestion.”

How it works

Using data from 2016, the TomTom Traffic Index looks at the traffic congestion situation in 390 cities in 48 countries on six continents – from Rome to Rio, Singapore to San Francisco. TomTom works with nearly 19 trillion data points that have been accumulated over nine years. This is the sixth year of the TomTom Traffic Index.  

Johan Jonck, Arrive Alive, said: "Motorists in these cities would easily admit to the frustrations of heavily congested traffic. The Arrive Alive website has shared advice on some safety techniques for safer driving in heavy traffic as well as some suggestions to avoid the rage.

"Keep in mind that you should not get angry sitting in heavy traffic as you are part of the congestion! With some careful pre-planning some of this can be avoided and with the right mindset you may be able to share roads responsibly and safely!"

Click on the images below to see how each city fared:

Cape Town





East London

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