The recently released Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard showed that Cape Town has the worst traffic in South Africa.
The report found that motorists in the city now lose an average of 162 hours – just under a week – in traffic every year.
By comparison, Pretoria motorists spend 143 hours (5.95 days) in traffic each year, while Johannesburg motorists lose 119 hours (4.95 days).
According to Rowan Alexander, director of Alexander Swart Property, the high traffic volumes are now also having a very noticeable impact on the property market.
“Both parents of many Cape Town families now spend an inordinate amount of time in slow moving traffic,” he said.
“To make up for this lost time, they have been seeking other ways of improving their quality of life, in particular by reducing time spent on journeys to the schools of their choice, day care centres, local shops and recreational venues and facilities, such as hiking and mountain bike trails and gyms.”
He added that there was a growing trend amongst buyers to accept more compact and space efficient homes – especially in sectional title projects – provided that these reduce their commuting time.
“In the long term, the difficulties of getting to workplaces, particularly in the CBD, will cause major corporates and other businesses to decentralise both their offices and industrial premises,” he said.
“This has taken place at Brackengate in Brackenfell (now home to Shoprite, Food Lovers’ Market, British American Tobacco, Plumblink and others), Richmond Park, Century City and the Tyger Waterfront.
“This trend is clearly discernible. Wherever there is land suitable for development on the fringe of built-up areas, new projects are being or will be launched.”
Alexander said that this kind of decentralisation will be increasingly necessary in the next few years as Cape Town continues to attract a steady influx of new residents.
“Despite the country’s considerable economic problems, Cape Town still has more employment opportunities for middle and upper-income groups than any other centre, and on average pays higher salaries,” he said.
“Decentralisation has been shown to radically improve the lifestyles of employees and their efficiency at work. It is, therefore, the logical choice, and those employers who ignore this will find themselves at a disadvantage in years to come.”