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Cape Town plans R750 million Congestion Management Project

By Staff Writer
The City of Cape Town has announced plans for a road infrastructure project that will assist in alleviating traffic congestion around the city and surrounding areas. According to a speech delivered by the City if Cape Town’s executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, R750 million over a five year period is needed for the road infrastructure improvements.
 
The City has already allocated R40 million in the current financial year to address traffic congestion.
 
The mayor highlighted that according to a 2013 survey conducted by TomTom, Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa, and is ranked 55th globally in terms of traffic. Furthermore, the study revealed that motorists are spending an extra 71% of their time sitting in traffic.
 
De Lille noted: “We must work together to alleviate congestion and to see how we should change our actions going forward if we want to avoid the dreadful situation where our roads will be in constant gridlock for most of the day.
 
“We do not have a choice. We all have to adapt and we will have to change our behaviour as residents if we want to live in a city that works in terms of the efficient movement of goods and people.”
 
The project
 
The City is proposing that R750 million be spent over a five year period in order to alleviate traffic congestion at major pressure points around Cape Town and areas leading into Cape Town. A document on the Congestion Management Programme is being drafted “to be approved by Council by the end of the year and which prioritises the congestion points across the city and how we can begin to address this in terms of infrastructure, operations and behavioural change,” said de Lille.
 
The areas that have been identified as needing infrastructure improvements due to congestion include:
·         The Kuils River area around Bottelary, Amandel and Saxdown Roads
·         Kommetjie around Ou Kaapse Weg and Kommetjie Road
·         The Blaauwberg area around Plattekloof, Blaauwberg and Sandown Roads
 
In addition to these areas, and others not yet announced, other areas that will be looked at include the M3, M5, N1 and N2 highways, as well that the V&A Waterfront and foreshore.
 
“Merely building more roads is not a viable and long-term solution because the more roads we build, the more private cars we get onto these roads,” revealed de Lille.
 
In order to better address the issue, the City aims to “lure private vehicle owners to public transport,” as well as to address the cost of public transport and integrate the various modes of public transport.
 
Public Transport
 
According to de Lille, the transport plans require Transport for Cape Town (TCT) to “act as a single authority over all road-based public transport.”
 
The Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) is currently on a month-to-month contract with the Western Cape Government, however, de Lille believes that TCT should be responsible for contracting GABS, “since this will give us the opportunity and the responsibility to integrate and align GABS and MyCiTi services with each other and ultimately with Metrorail.”
 
However, the City is still awaiting feedback from the Minister of Transport with regards to an application that it submitted “to the National Government for the assignment of the contracting authority function which relates to this scheduled bus services contract in October 2012, and for the municipal regulatory authority function in May 2013,” revealed de Lille.
 
Once all modes of public transport are integrated, including bus, rail, BRT and minibus-taxi, there will be a seamless ticketing system where commuters will require a single ticket, “regardless of transfers across different modes or services.”
 
De Lille highlighted that companies need to get involved in the integrated transport project to incentivise their employees to make use of public transport, which could assist in alleviating some of the traffic on the roads.
 
“We need business and investors to assist us with expertise and money in finding long-term solutions because in the end, congestion comes at a great economic cost.
 
“The City has already introduced traffic demand management measures in its new MyCiTi tariff structure.
 
“This is, however, not enough. Coupled with such interventions, we will be exploring other initiatives including car-sharing and more enforcement on our bus, minibus-taxi and taxi (BMT) lanes,” said de Lille.

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