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Easing traffic congestion beyond COVID-19<p>Traffic data for the N1, the N2, a section of the N7 and M5 freeways since the start of the lockdown on 27 March 2020 confirms that the weekday traffic counts on these roads have dropped between 75% to 80% in April 2020. </p><p>However, the volumes increased significantly in May 2020 from around 20% to 40% of the traffic volumes seen before the pandemic; and in June 2020 the traffic volumes have increased further to about 65% of the normal weekday levels as more people are returning to work with the easing of the regulations related to Alert Level 3 of the lockdown.</p><p>COVID-19 has confirmed that traffic congestion can be significantly reduced by managing the demand for travel. </p><p>Working remotely, at home, instead of from an office; travelling to work outside of the traditional peak hour periods; and using more sustainable ways to travel – for example, walking or cycling where possible, or joining lift clubs and using public transport – can have a lasting impact on traffic congestion, and will significantly lower our carbon footprint.</p><p><strong>The following interventions are being investigated:</strong></p><ul><li><div style="text-align:left;">prioritising road-based public transport by providing an outbound bus, minibus-taxi (BMT) lane on the N2 freeway through Hospital Bend to Raapenberg Road and beyond; and to identify other roads where BMT lanes can be implemented</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">providing more and improved public transport options to those who are using private vehicles</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">enabling remote working or flexible working hours for government officials beyond the COVID-19 pandemic as officials make out a large percentage of those commuters travelling to and from the Cape Town CBD on weekdays </div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">promoting remote working and flexible working hours among big businesses in the CBD</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">the possible roll-out of city-wide broadband in areas where the private sector is not providing fibre as yet</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">encouraging popup remote working centres in neighbourhoods where residents will have access to wifi and meeting rooms</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">prioritising walking and cycling in business precincts with the provision of safe walkways and cycle lanes;and the provision of easy access to safe lock-up facilities for bicycles at retail shopping centres and work places</div></li><li><div style="text-align:left;">encouraging and promoting carpooling and ridesharing</div></li></ul><p>Residents are now living and working in the same space. Hopefully, they will continue to do so. However, we also have to ask ourselves what impact will this have on our traditional neighbourhoods, central business districts, and land uses across the city in future. The answers to these questions will be investigated and used to inform future planning scenarios. </p><p>COVID-19 is challenging us on every possible level, but during this difficult time we are also presented with alternatives.</p><p>These alternatives have been forced upon us, and we now have the opportunity to consider whether it is possible to change our daily routines permanently: why do we travel; how do we travel; and could we opt for healthier lifestyles where walking and cycling become the norm.</p><p>We will be working closely with other City Directorates, the Western Cape Government, and big businesses in the city in coming months to see how we can make a lasting impact on traffic congestion, and how to promote public transport and walking and cycling.</p><p>All of us have travelled on quieter roads over the past few months, and have experienced what commuting is like when traffic flows. We can make this a lasting experience if we work together in changing our travel behaviour beyond COVID-19.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2020-07-29T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#942ec588-7168-43a4-858d-192fc0c383c8;L0|#0942ec588-7168-43a4-858d-192fc0c383c8|Congestion;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#7cc7a47a-7915-4274-a19e-e977c5a945e0;L0|#07cc7a47a-7915-4274-a19e-e977c5a945e0|traffic1

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