Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille sent out a call to action in October 2015 inviting various spheres of government, the business community, investors and residents to address Cape Town's growing congestion problem. This culminated in the successful hosting of the City of Cape Town's Congestion Summit on 4 November 2015 which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Transport for Cape Town’s latest statistics show that the morning peak had increased from 07:00 to 09:00 (two hours) to 06:00 to 10:00 (four hours) in the last two years.
“Congestion comes at a great cost, with time and money being lost, but also in terms of pollution and its long-term effect on our living environment,” says Mayor de Lille.
To this end, the City received a R750-million investment from the V&A Waterfront which will be used as part of its proposed Congestion Management Programme which is awaiting approval.
The mayor’s call was heeded and the event was well-attended with lively panel discussions taking place. Attendees identified the following key areas contributing to congestion:
The need to leverage funding through integrated planning was identified as an issue with possible solutions being private revenue and charging a “congestion” tax and optimising the current infrastructure.
Integrated authority, managing externalities, building capacity, an integrated system, daytime travel, technology and safety are operational issues that were identified during the panel discussion. Possible solutions suggested at the event were integrated law enforcement, integrating ticketing system, determining clear operational requirements, freeway management, school bus systems, reliable information and public private partnerships.
Densification, lack of alternative public transport options, travel demand management, communication, a common vision, investing in cycling and freight management were the key problem areas identified in this category. Possible solutions for these issues included using energy consumption as a metric of measurement, understanding why people drive, prioritising investment in high quality public transport infrastructure, implementating a progressive “flexi-time” policy, understanding how to use technology to influence human travel, a behaviour shift to include cycling as a mode of transport, supply chain collaboration and reopening the rail line to the West Coast.
Attendees committed to various types of investment. This included shifting to making use of public transport, committing to exploring flexi-time options, improving road infrastructure and investing in rail and integrating this with BRT.