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Wednesday / 10 August 2022
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10 most traffic-congested cities in South Africa

The most traffic-congested city in South Africa is Cape Town, followed by Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha).

Globally, London ranks first, then Paris, Brussels, Moscow, New York, Chicago, Rome, Bogota, Palermo, and Istanbul.

These statistics were revealed in the 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard released by Inrix.

Traffic in South Africa

Despite traffic not yet returning to pre-pandemic levels, most South African cities rank worse in terms of traffic congestion on the international scale in 2021 when compared to 2020.

Last year, Cape Town ranked as the 95th most traffic-congested city in the world – now it sits in 43rd.

Johannesburg had an equally big jump from 139th in 2020 to 71st in 2021.

Port Elizabeth then experienced the biggest change, to go from 525th in 2020 to 155th in 2021.

Pretoria, on the other hand, was the only region in the top 10 most-congested South African cities that improved its global standings.

In 2020, Pretoria was in 154th place internationally, whereas it now sits in 197th.

This also moves Pretoria to the fourth-most-congested city in South Africa in 2021, from third the preceding year.

The ranking

The overall rank for a city is determined by the delays attributed to congestion when following a certain commute that is based on the city’s population.

Detailed in the table below are the top 10 most traffic-congested South African cities in 2021, according to the Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard.

City Global Impact Rank (vs 2020)
Cape Town 43 (95)
Johannesburg 71 (139)
Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) 155 (525)
Pretoria 197 (154)
Pietermaritzburg 315 (586)
East London 353 (610)
Bloemfontein 420 (898)
Durban 524 (592)
Vanderbijlpark 776 (972)
Welkom 1,010 (1,013)

Hours lost

The Global Traffic Scorecard also shows the hours in congestion that motorists lost during the year.

The hours lost in congestion is the total number of additional hours spent on the road during peak commute periods compared to free-flow conditions.

In Cape Town, motorists lost 59 hours to congestion during the year.

Johannesburg followed with 48 hours lost, while Port Elizabeth motorists lost 41 hours during the year to congestion.

Out of the top 10 most-congested local cities, five locations improved traffic congestion when compared to pre-Covid levels – while the remaining five experienced more traffic in 2021 than in 2019 and 2020.

Detailed in the table below are the top 10 South African cities ranked by hours lost to congestion during 2021.

City Hours Lost (vs pre-Covid)
Cape Town 59 hours (-53%)
Johannesburg 48 hours (-36%)
Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) 41 hours (+62%)
Pretoria 38 hours (-42%)
Pietermaritzburg 33 hours (+16%)
East London 30 hours (+42%)
Bloemfontein 24 hours (+51%)
Durban 19 hours (-21%)
Vanderbijlpark 11 hours (+84%)
Welkom 0 hours (NA)


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