The economics of rush hour traffic

The recently released TomTom Traffic Index (TTTI) 2017 provides drivers, industry leaders and policymakers with unbiased information about congestion levels in urban areas. The TTTI 2017 report covered 390 cities in 48 countries across 6 continents. South Africa is the only country from Africa to be included in the index. The data from six cities in South Africa can give valuable insight into our urban centres’ congestion. [1]

South Africa’s congested cities have a negative effect on the economy

The graph below indicates the percentage increase in overall traffic time during (morning and afternoon) rush hour, compared to a free-flow situation, between 2009 and 2016.


Johannesburg is the most populous city in South Africa and has long been perceived as the most congested city in the country. In 2012, however, Cape Town overtook Johannesburg as the most congested urban area in South Africa. The 2017 TTTI results show that, of the cities included, Cape Town is the most congested, followed by Johannesburg and East London. The less congested cities are Pretoria, Durban and Bloemfontein. This index helps users to put the issue of gridlock traffic into context, in order to come up with innovative ideas about how the problem can be alleviated and where intervention is the most necessary.

Rush TF

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AnkeAnke Joubert
Consultant, Financial Risk Management





[1] TomTom, 2017. Country information. Available:

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