Here’s why Johannesburg won international nod for traffic improvements


Here’s why Johannesburg won international nod for traffic improvements

TMG Digital | 2017-02-21 12:04:39.0

The traffic in the M1 highway in Johannesburg.

Image by: Lucky Nxumalo


Johannesburg has won the TomTom Traffic Index award for Traffic Management. The city has a total road network of 41‚754km‚ of which 603km are highways.

Here is the citation for our city managers:

“Smart traffic management strategies including new toll roads‚ freeway improvements and a new traffic management system‚ combined with the new Gautrain and integrated bus system has led to a decrease in congestion‚ despite an increase in population. A well-deserved win for Johannesburg.”

The Tom Tom report further states:

Johannesburg is the most populous city in South Africa‚ and has long been perceived as the most congested city in the country. This was confirmed by the TomTom traffic Index when South African ratings were first reported in 2009. Infrastructure improvements and ITS implementation has however decreased the biggest metropolitan municipality’s TTTI‚ and in 2012‚ Cape Town overtook Johannesburg as the most congested city in South Africa.


2016 delay hot spots in Joburg. Source: Tom Tom

Johannesburg and Pretoria both indicate a decrease in index between 2009 and 2012. Johannesburg TTTI decreased from 29% to 25% (-4%) in daily index ratings‚ and from 63% to 58% (-5%) in the morning peak hour. In the following 3 years‚ both Johannesburg and Pretoria maintained a relatively even TTTI rating.

The decrease in TTTI and congestion can in part be attributed to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP)‚ which entailed infrastructure capacity improvements to freeways in Gauteng. Additionally‚ Open Road Tolling (ORT) and numerous ITS applications were implemented along the freeway corridors‚ including a Freeway Management Systems (FMS) and incident detection and response systems‚ which are managed from the centralised integrated Transport Management Centre (TMC).


Congestion level and extra travel time. Source Tom Tom

At the same time‚ the Gautrain‚ a high speed commuter passenger rail system in Gauteng was implemented. The system opened to the public on one route in 2010‚ in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Additional routes were opened in 2011 and 2012. Park and ride facilities have been provided at stations‚ and bus feeder routes are operated by the Gautrain. The Gautrain has been very successful‚ with ridership rising to 63 000 passengers every weekday in 2015‚ reducing reliance on the freeways and private car use between Pretoria and Johannesburg.

During the period that the Johannesburg TTTI has decreased‚ population in Johannesburg has risen by 3.2% per annum. In comparison‚ Cape Town’s population grew during the same period by 2.6% per annum‚ and East London by only 0.7% per annum. In contrast to these lower population growth rates‚ the TTTI in Cape Town and East London (in fact in all South African cities that are monitored) has increased sharply.

“This highlights the success of the congestion mitigation measures implemented in Johannesburg‚” the index compilers state.

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