Cape Town's traffic gridlock is worsening. An expert explains how to fix it

Cape Town has the worst traffic in South Africa compared to other cities like Pretoria and Johannesburg, according to the recent Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard.

Honourary research associate at UCT, Dr Lisa Kane, is an independent sustainable transport consultant and discusses the traffic challenges with CapeTalk's Refilwe Moloto.

She attributes the traffic congestion to the 30% hike in population over the last decade and a 30% increase in the number of vehicles on the road.

The sluggish economy has placed constraints on the city's ability to cater to these increases, she adds.

Some of the budget meant for transport was also diverted to deal with the water crisis in the city during the recent drought.

Read: Officers may be visible at speed checks - Cape Town Traffic Dept

We also have the public transport system operating at an unstable equilibrium.

Dr Lisa Kane, Independent sustainable transport consultant

Kane provides an analysis of the public transport system for railway, buses, and taxis.

The railway and bus system has room for improvement and expansion but a lack of infrastructure investment has created a hold-up, says Kane.

The taxi system provides a better solution as it is very responsive to demand.

You don't often see taxis empty apart from when they are leaving town. This is because they operate very efficiently. They are optimised.

Dr Lisa Kane, Independent sustainable transport consultant

We should be very thankful for the taxis because if every person in those taxis was using their own vehicle, traffic would be very worse.

Dr Lisa Kane, Independent sustainable transport consultant

Kane offered some solutions to traffic congestion:

  • The rail system should be corrected
  • Manage the roads properly - Traffic lights, extra lanes and walking, and cycling lanes
  • Carpooling
  • Investment on road infrastructure

To hear the rest of the conversation listen below:


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