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Joburg improves management as congestion rises

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Johannesburg, South Africa’s most densely populated city, has been recognised for its implementation of effective traffic management systems across the city, earning special recognition from an international panel of traffic experts.
This accolade is part of the TomTom Traffic Index (TTTI) 2017, an annual report detailing 390 cities around the world with the most traffic congestion. For the first time, this year, TomTom is celebrating those cities that deserve special recognition for their efforts to beat traffic congestion.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
“Infrastructure development is a major contributing factor to Johannesburg’s improved ranking in the TomTom Traffic Index,” says Megan Bruwer, project co-ordinator for the Stellenbosch Smart Mobility Laboratory. “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.”
Cities that are experiencing the worst traffic congestion as per the TTTI global rankings include Mexico City (66%), Bangkok (61%), Jakarta (58%), Chongqing (52%) and Bucharest (50%), making up the top five most congested cities in the world.
In Europe, Bucharest (50%) knocked Moscow (44%) off last year’s top spot, with Saint Petersburg (41%), London (40%) and Marseille (40%) making up the top five.
North America’s top five most congested cities remained the same as the previous year – Mexico City (66%), Los Angeles (45%), San Francisco (39%), Vancouver (39%), New York (35%) – although congestion levels were up across the board.
According to 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.