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Cape Town traffic woes: City suggests flexi-hours for workers

2017-03-22 14:19

JAMMED IN TRAFFIC : TomTom claims that Cape Town is the most congested city in SA. Image: AFP

City of Cape Town

Cape Town - Earlier in 2017, Wheels24 reported that Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa as revealed by GPS specialist TomTom.

In March, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee will meet to discuss the congestion the city is facing and possibly adopt the draft by Travel Demand Management Strategy (TDMS).

The strategy proposes practical solutions to alleviate the traffic congestion on Cape Town’s road network.

The City’s mayoral committee member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron, said: "The draft Travel Demand Management Strategy was issued for public participation in October last year when we asked residents and interested parties to comment on the City’s proposals on how to change motorists’ travel behaviour.

"We have received overwhelming support from residents who have also made valuable contributions in terms of how we can all pull together to reduce the number of private vehicles on our roads."


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Changing times

The City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority says that it is spending R750-million on road infrastructure projects over a period of five years to address congestion in Kommetjie, Kuils River and Blaauwberg. However, building new roads alone will not solve this challenge in the long-term.

Experience the world over has proven that new road capacity is usually taken up within a matter of months and that construction cannot stay ahead of the growing demand due to rapid urbanisation.

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

As such, interventions to address and change commuter behaviour - how and when they travel - are needed to complement the City’s road infrastructure projects.

Herron said: "The only way out of constant gridlock is by changing our travel patterns and our over-reliance on private vehicles. The strategy proposes practical solutions. For example, by implementing flexible working hours or remote working arrangements for employees, we will have fewer private vehicles on the arterial routes during the traditional peak-hour periods."

"The City will lead by example. As a large employer, we expect our implementation of this strategy to lead the way and in the next few months some officials will be allowed to work remotely from satellite offices for a number of days or hours a week, to begin and end working at non-standard times within limits set by management, or to work from home during the peak and then travel to work during the off-peak period."

Fighting congestion

Although the TDMS mainly focuses on the interventions that the City can make, residents and local businesses – in particular those with offices in central business districts – must also explore similar possibilities.

Herron added: "Many residents spend three hours on the city’s arterial routes during the peak-hour traffic periods because historic and inflexible working hours require us to start and finish working between 8am and 5pm. Cape Town’s spatial and geographical layout also exacerbates traffic congestion because commuters travel in the same direction towards centres of employment."

The TDMS also makes proposals on how residents should be encouraged to make more sustainable travel choices, be it by using public transport services and walking or cycling where feasible, or car-pooling.

READ: Worst traffic in SA? Joburg no longer tops in congestion

Herron concludes: "Congestion affects all of us and we must share the responsibility in doing something about it. I often hear motorists who drive alone in their cars complaining about bumper-to-bumper traffic. It is ironic because those among us who are travelling in single occupancy cars are the very cause of the problem that we are complaining about.

"Residents who live and work in the Cape Town CBD can use the MyCiTi bus service, walk or cycle, or use a taxi. Car-pooling could be a practical option for those living further away. It may take some effort to arrange in the beginning, but once the pattern is established it could easily become a habit."

Increasing the cost of parking and ultimately reducing the availability of parking bays counts among the interventions that the City can take over time to reduce the attractiveness of private vehicle use to business districts.

Measures such as parking cash-outs for large employers (starting with the City) can be used to encourage officials to use other modes of transport - thus, employees who have subsidised parking or get it as part of their remuneration package are offered the cash equivalent of the parking cost.

Cape Town's congestion

While Johannesburg has long been considered South Africa’s most traffic-congested city, the City of Gold ranks 70th globally, according to TomTom, with Cape Town positioned in 48th place.  

Cape Town traffic according to TomTom:



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