1. About Transport Month

Transport Month is held every October in South Africa.

It is a time for us to think about:

  • sustainable transport options,
  • low-carbon / green transport,
  • road safety
  • choosing public transport when possible
  • active mobility – walking, cycling, skating

This month we are focussing particularly on traffic congestion – and ways that all of us can help to reduce it and get around it.

  1. Congestion – it’s getting worse

Traffic congestion is getting worse and more people want to live, work, study and spend time in Cape Town.

As more and more cars clog up the roads the City of Cape Town and its citizens need to work together to manage the problem.

We can’t build our way out of congestion with more roads – we need to use our existing roads better and smarter and all of us – me and you – can make small changes to keep the traffic moving.

There are two big reasons why the weekday traffic is getting worse:

  1. 80% of cars have only one occupant
  2. Most of us drive to work and back at the same time every day. This causes a traffic peak that can really slow things down. Then if something happens – like a crash – things can really get difficult on the road network.

This Transport Month we are talking about what all of us can do to help ease congestion.

  1. Using cars smarter with car pools and ride sharing

An easy way to reduce the number of cars on the road is to put more people into each of them.

Many of us have three or four empty seats in our cars every day.

Lift clubs, carpools and ride sharing makes good use of this empty space and has many benefits. It can take a lot of cars off the road, allowing the remaining traffic to move faster.

Petrol and parking costs come down when shared among users, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced when there is less congestion, and taking turns to be the driver can be less stressful, freeing up time to relax as a passenger.

Talk to your friends, neighbours and colleagues about the possibility of sharing a ride.  Give it a try – if everyone car pooled it would take thousands of cars off the roads.

  1. Avoid the peak with flexible working

Internationally flexitime is becoming increasingly popular.

Technology makes it much more possible to work remotely and the trend in cities globally is to let staff work from home when it’s convenient to do so.

There’s also less and less reason for everyone to work from 8 to 4.

Cape Town’s long summer days make it particularly suitable to stagger working hours so that some staff start earlier and leave earlier while others do the opposite. Talk to your colleagues and see what’s possible.

Technology also provides smart ways to avoid the peak with a number of mobile apps providing live traffic data and route options to help you avoid congestion.

  1. Bike, walk, skate to work, college or the shops

Cape Town aims to become a cycling city where a significant number of people get around the city on bicycles.

Cycling infrastructure is improving as government funds become available to build cycle paths and other infrastructure.

For most of us a bit more walking is an option. And while you might not want to walk several kilometres to work, you might want to consider a bit more ‘active mobility’ over weekends.

Rather than driving to the shop for bread and milk, take a walk in your neighbourhood and connect with your community.

The health benefits of this kind of active mobility are increasingly acknowledged, and it’s a cheap form of exercise that’s good for the environment and doesn’t involve gym fees.

  1. Cape Town’s road network – a major asset for all of us

Cape Town’s roads are a huge public asset worth billions of Rands. We need them to keep the economy moving and people connected.

Keeping the network working well requires ongoing maintenance, the rapid repair of faults and the responsible use by drivers.

The City of Cape Town relies on citizens to tell them when there are problems on the roads. It’s a case of ‘if you don’t tell us we can’t fix it’.

  1. Intersections – a time to pay attention

How many times have you been stuck behind someone at the traffic lights who misses the light because they are on their cell phone?

The temptation to start doing something when your vehicle slows down at a traffic intersection is significant – hair, makeup, phone, the works.

Instead – be in the moment! Lots of traffic crashes happen at intersections because drivers are not paying attention.

Also, the smooth flow of traffic depends on drivers moving through intersections timeously, not running the red lights and obeying the rules of the road.

When traffic is bad, pay extra attention as you approach the intersection and make sure you are able to get through it in the green traffic phase.

When traffic signals, ask your fellow passenger to call the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63 and report it as soon possible.

If the signal is not working, remember to treat is as a four-way stop. This means that the first vehicle to arrive at the stop has right of way to leave first. Proceed with caution.

  1. Share the road

Cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians are all road users. Please share the road.

As our roads get busier be on the look-out for cyclists, pedestrians and motorbikes.

South Africa has very high pedestrian fatality rates and way too many child pedestrians are killed or injured on our roads.

Be a tolerant driver and look out for cyclists and pedestrians.

Motorists should anticipate the actions of other road uses including cyclists and passengers who might be disembarking from a minibus taxi or bus.

  1. Try public transport

The best way to help reduce traffic is to catch a bus, train or taxi.

Rail is the still the backbone of public transport, but it has its challenges. However the City is well served by road-based public transport such as MyCITi, Golden Arrow and minibus-taxis.

Catch public transport and spend more time doing the things you enjoy.

  • Use the TIC

0800 65 64 63 – that’s the City of Cape Town’s Transport Information Centre, available 24/7.

Call this one-stop call centre free from any phone for everything roads and transport related.

That’s 0800 65 64 63. Save it in your phone.

The TIC’s knowledgeable call centre operators work day and night to provide transport information and log faults.

They serve customers in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa and there is no charge for this service from landlines or cell phones.

The TIC also provides information on MyCiTi, Golden Arrow Bus Services and Metrorail.