Data shows quieter roads in South African cities


Specialist in location technologies, TomTom has published its latest Traffic Index, a report detailing the traffic jams in 2020 in more than 400 cities in 57 countries, including South Africa.

Although the ranking of the world’s most congested cities has changed very little since 2019, the big change is the extent to which congestion levels have declined due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the 416 cities included in the index, 387 experienced a significant decrease (on average 21%) in congestion and an average decrease of 28% in peak hour congestion, countering a trend that has seen congestion increase. on average from 2 to 2.3% over one year.

TomTom’s traffic data is fed by 600 million connected devices.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, Vice President of Traffic and Travel, TomTom, said: “Last year we announced that global congestion levels in 2019 had increased for the ninth consecutive traffic index. In 2020, we saw a very different picture. From lockdowns to closed borders, the movement of people has changed – and it has changed very quickly.

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TomTom experts don’t expect roads to remain so uncrowded unless there is a concerted and deliberate change in driver behavior, supported by policy makers and, most importantly, employers.

Although the global pandemic has created an opportunity to change traffic forever, will people embrace the change in mobility and take a new path towards a cleaner, congestion-free future?

For example, the end of rush hours might even be possible through flexible work schedules, working from home, and a smart approach to using traffic data to determine the best times to travel.

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“Although traffic congestion has decreased in 2020, it will not become a trend if we do not act. We might even see traffic levels rise again as people return to work and revert to their old ways. This is why the time has come for planners, policy makers, employers – and drivers – to take stock of what they will do to make roads less congested in the future, ”said Schäfer.


Moscow, Russia, with a congestion level of 54%, is ranked as the most congested city in the world in 2020, ahead of Bengaluru, India – the most congested city in 2019, which fell to 6th place in 2020 .

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The rankings include six cities in South Africa, with Cape Town again taking first place and the 132nd most congested city in the world. Collectively, these cities reported 79 days (on average) with low traffic

Days with a congestion level more than 50% lower compared to the observance of days in 2019.

In 2020, TomTom said it observed the mass exodus of people from capital cities across Europe. The day before the second lockout was the busiest day in Athens and London in 2020. Meanwhile in Paris, traffic jams reached a record high.

  • Paris, October 29, 6 p.m. – 142%
  • London, November 4, 5:00 p.m. – 104%
  • Athens, November 6, 6:00 p.m. – 123%

Read: South Africa’s tough new driving laws planned for this year



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