Joint team drives better traffic signals in Sandton Central

A task team comprising Sandton Central Management District, Eskom, Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and Traffic Freeflow is putting its drive behind improving traffic signals and traffic flow in South Africa’s financial hub.

The Sandton Central Traffic Signal Forum’s goal is to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible by ensuring all traffic signals work optimally. But, with the many road, pavement and infrastructure improvement projects underway in this thriving business district, this is no small task.

However, by working together, the task team has already made good progress and road users in Sandton Central can expect to see even more improvements in the future.

Elaine Jack, City Improvement District Manager of the Sandton Central Management District, which manages the public urban spaces of South Africa’s cosmopolitan financial hub, says: “One of the most important benefits coming from this forum is improved communication and it goes a long way to addressing issues and putting solutions into action faster. It takes the cooperation of many partners for a bustling area like Sandton Central to operate with excellence. Bringing everyone around the same table to improve communication between all involved is a big step in the right direction.”

The forum’s ultimate objective is to have all traffic signals working and synchronised optimally.

But, when this is impossible, the team has developed a system to ensure traffic management is put in place swiftly, keeping intersections moving and ensuring traffic signals are reinstated as soon as it is feasible.

Importantly, all this needs to be done with the safety of all road users – pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, public transport users and pointsmen – as the priority.

Jack confirms: “We are tracking the traffic signals carefully. With the collaboration achieved at the Sandton Central Traffic Signal Forum, the operation of traffic signals in the Sandton Central Management District has improved markedly. This is encouraging and we hope to see continued improvement in future.”

Contributing to the improvement are traffic signal upgrades as well as re-cabling undertaken by the JRA, which will noticeably reduce the frequency power of outages to traffic signals in the area.

In addition, the team is weighing up several options to ensure the power to traffic signals is always on. It is piloting a UPS project for traffic signals at six intersections around Sandton Central and is also exploring the feasibility of backup generators and the benefits of applying a proactive maintenance protocol.

Importantly, a new process will ensure the proactive communication between the forum’s partners takes place each and every day to ensure action is taken and there is support on the ground when traffic signals are out of order. This will help shorten repair times and let Traffic Freeflow and the JMPD know where their support is needed at peak traffic times.

Jack says: “By working together to develop this system, we’re able to improve response times to put solutions in place and, at the same time, track recurring problems to identify where larger scale remedial work is needed.”

She adds: “This collaborative approach is typical of leading cities around the globe. Our joint initiative reinforces Sandton’s position as South Africa’s leading location for business, tourism, shopping, dining, entertainment, events and living.”