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Lockdown saves commuters travel time

Above: Assuming a 22-day work-month and travel during normal traffic hours, this graph shows the expected amount of time saved for people travelling along popular routes to work

Commuters travelling from Pretoria to Johannesburg and back again in August spent 10 hours a month less on the road when compared to February as traffic volumes dropped by 33%, from 1.94m trips in February to 1.29m in August on the N1 South and from 2.02m to 1.35m on the N1 North.

People commuting from Johannesburg to Pretoria saved about 8 hours/month, and people travelling from Johannesburg to Sandton saved 6 hours/month. These findings come from a survey of vehicles fitted with Tracker conducted by Lightstone, a provider of comprehensive data, analytics and systems on property, automotive and business assets.

The survey took place in February (the last month before lockdown was introduced) and August (lockdown 3 and 2) and measured average speeds travelled along high activity routes in the Pretoria-Sandton-Johannesburg area in Gauteng.

Overall, vehicles based around the Pretoria area and commuting to the Johannesburg area travelled roughly 12.5km/h faster during morning traffic and 16km/h faster during afternoon traffic when compared to February and saved 27 minutes in travel time.

Interestingly, commuters saved more time during peak travel commutes – for example, during morning traffic hours, trips from Pretoria to Johannesburg/Sandton, Roodepoort to Sandton, and Soweto to Sandton were over 10 minutes shorter on average, and in general trips were significantly faster, with average speeds of over 14km/h higher from the Pretoria area to the Johannesburg area and over 10km/h from the Johannesburg area to the Pretoria area.

Lockdown saves commuters travel time

Those commuting from the Johannesburg area to the Pretoria area travelled roughly 8km/h faster during morning traffic and 9km/h faster during afternoon traffic, saving roughly 15 minutes per day.

Lockdown saves commuters travel time

Sandton’s key role as an economic hub in Gauteng was evident as large numbers of people travelled from Pretoria, Roodepoort, Soweto and Johannesburg to Sandton each day.

They all recorded average speeds over 10km/h faster than the baseline: roughly 14km/h, 12km/h, 12km/h and 10km/h respectively. In contrast, the top four significant trip routes to Johannesburg showed average speed increases of 12km/h, 8km/h, 6km/h and 5km/h from Pretoria, Sandton, Randburg and Roodepoort respectively, and those to Pretoria showed increases of 9km/h, 8km/h, 8km/h and 7km/h from Johannesburg, Roodepoort, Randburg and Sandton respectively.

The survey also confirms more people travel from Pretoria to Johannesburg than the other way, and it considered average speeds for Tracker trips to and from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Sandton, Randburg, Soweto, Mamelodi, Roodepoort and Akasia because of their proximity to major business hubs in Johannesburg, Sandton and Pretoria and the N1 highway.

Average speed differences

The table below shows average speed differences and time saved per home-work route for August vs February:

Home town - work town Speed Increase(km/h) Time saved(minutes)
Pretoria - Johannesburg 14,1 27,4
Pretoria - Sandton 15,4 27,3
Soweto - Sandton 10,3 25,7
Roodepoort - Sandton 13,1 25,7
Johannesburg - Pretoria 10,2 20,3
Johannesburg - Sandton 9,4 16,7
Roodepoort - Pretoria 8,9 16,1
Pretoria - Randburg 9,2 13,9
Randburg - Pretoria 8,8 13,1
Sandton - Johannesburg 8,4 13,0
Randburg - Sandton 7,6 12,6
Soweto - Randburg 5,8 12,4
Sandton - Pretoria 8,3 12,1
Randburg - Johannesburg 6,3 11,1
Roodepoort - Johannesburg 5,8 10,0
Sandton - Soweto 6,3 9,4
Sandton - Roodepoort 5,7 7,6
Soweto - Johannesburg 3,0 7,1
Randburg - Soweto 4,6 6,4
Johannesburg - Randburg 3,9 6,2
Akasia - Pretoria 4,2 6,2
Sandton - Randburg 4,6 5,8
Roodepoort - Randburg 4,3 5,8
Johannesburg - Soweto 3,7 4,5
Mamelodi - Pretoria 1,4 3,6
Johannesburg - Roodepoort 2,3 2,9
Pretoria - Akasia 2,7 2,9
Randburg - Roodepoort 2,2 2,7
Roodepoort - Soweto 1,3 2,0
Pretoria - Mamelodi 0,6 1,3
Soweto - Roodepoort 0,0 0,0
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