Perspectives on the externalities: Of road usage in South Africa
A perspective on the externalities of road usage in South Africa is discussed. The road system and road users are causing enormous positive externalities to society. These include access to economic activities, health services, education, retail facilities, and recreation. Road users pay a variety of taxes and levies to the state, such as VAT on vehicle sales, VAT on vehicle part sales/car repair services, import duties on vehicles/parts, and fines. A report for Cape Town reveals that the two major routes in the city, N1 and N2, experience heavy congestion every weekday, which could equal 50% of all congestion in the city. A recent report on congestion costs for Canada reveals that more than 90% of this cost is time lost in traffic by drivers and passengers, 7% is attributable to increased fuel consumption and 3% is attributable to green house gas emissions under congested conditions. The positive external value of the road network is estimated to be in excess of R150 billion per annum and by far exceeds the negative externalities.