Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa, mainly because of a lack of substantial investment in public transport and, as a result, overreliance on the private car. This means that as the population grows, so does vehicle ownership. With 80% of the peak traffic currently made up of private car users, and peak travelling hours in the morning now recognised to be between 06:00 and 10:00, this is far from ideal. The Transport Directorate, through its Travel Demand Management Strategy, is addressing the rising congestion levels in line with the Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan, 2013-2018.
In order to lower congestion, a significant mode shift is required by Cape Town’s residents. One of the ways that the City can effectively control congestion is through its parking policy. The City’s Draft Parking Policy of 2014 sets out its approach to the provision, management, regulation and enforcement of parking in the city. It also provides guidelines with regard to on-street parking, off-street parking, park and ride facilities, loading bays, bus bays, reserved parking, parking permits and bicycle and motorcycle parking. The Draft Parking Policy is based on the direction provided by existing legislation, the City’s policy framework, the City’s 2040 Vision and the City’s Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan (CITP) and includes principles, policy directives and actions to address parking city-wide.
Another way of reducing traffic congestion is for residents to use car-pooling services and lift clubs – thereby directly reducing the amount of single-occupant vehicles (SOVs) and increasing the amount of high-occupant vehicles (HOVs) that share the road. With 80% of daily congestion in Cape Town consisting of private vehicles, if all motorists were part of a car pool or lift club, there would effectively be half, or less, of the congestion faced currently.
Non-motorised transport (NMT), which includes walking and cycling, is an important mode of transport within Cape Town's transport network. The City is committed to improving and promoting non-motorised transport to acknowledge and support the significant role it plays in Cape Town's transport system. Currently cyclists have access to at least 450 km of cycle lanes across the city, some of which are dedicated cycleways. Some cycleways have been coloured green to clearly indicate their location as well as the presence of cyclists to motorised transport.
The Transport Directorate's NMT strategy aims to make Cape Town a city where all people feel safe and secure to walk and cycle. The aim is to extend the cycle network so that it is an integrated and continuous network within the integrated transport system. TDA's Integrated Public Transport Network 2032 sees NMT as the most important mode in the public transport network that must be promoted and accommodated in all aspects of design.
Private cars are the dominant mode of transport in Cape Town and a high percentage of households depend on cars to get around. The Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan 2013 – 2018 notes that approximately 1 228 450 people a day make use of private cars, and there are 789 099 private cars registered in Cape Town.
In 2013 vehicle ownership was estimated at 306 cars per 1 000 people in the city.
Meter taxi services are available 24 hours a day and can be booked via their respective call centres or found in one of the city’s demarcated meter taxi ranks or bays. Meter taxi tariffs range from R13 to R18 per kilometre.
The rise of smart phones and new technology means that transportation options like Uber, Taxify and ridesharing apps are growing in popularity. Provided that users have the relevant app installed on their devices, they are able to use these services which are available across the city.