Signalling the end for Sandton Central traffic woes

The Sandton Central Management District (SCMD), in conjunction with Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and Traffic Freeflow, continue to work towards significant improvement to traffic signals and traffic flow in Africa’s financial hub.

According to the Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA), on average roughly 50 of Johannesburg’s 2,135 intersections experience signal downtime each day. Ageing signal infrastructure and lack of secure electricity supply account for roughly 25% of faults reported daily.

However, proactively addressing the electricity supply to traffic signals, Sandton Central has already sponsored six uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units for traffic signals at key intersections in its well-managed precinct.

Elaine Jack, City Improvement District Manager for SCMD, says: “We have invested in measures to ensure that key traffic signals in the district are always on. Also, we have partnered with the JRA on a number of key initiatives, including a traffic signal forum where we actively engage with both the JRA and Eskom technicians in order to reduce the time traffic signals are down. We work closely with JRA management and traffic engineers to relook traffic signal timings to ensure the best traffic flows too.”

Recently, JRA engineers re-timed several intersections to start peak-hour flow timings half-an-hour earlier in the morning, running from 6am to 9am. Their peak afternoon plans now run longer too, from 3.30pm to 8pm. The intersections are.
• Rivonia and 5th
• Sandton Drive and Alice
• Rivonia and Pybus
• Rivonia and Katherine
• Sandton and Grayston
• Rivonia and Fredman
• Rivonia and Maude / Linden
• Rivonia and Pretoria / Daisy
• Rivonia and West

SCMD is also thrilled by the City of Johannesburg’s recent announcement that it will be allocating an additional R200 million over the next three years to improve traffic management, paying special focus to traffic lights, and the replacement of copper cabling at key intersections.

The city has started a ‘no-join’ policy for fixing electrical faults, ending a practice where signals were fixed by joining cables. In addition, the JRA will be implementing improved traffic monitoring systems, including a 24-hour response centre for responding to reports of signal loss.

“Non-working traffic signals in a business district like Sandton Central can be detrimental in terms of lost time and economic productivity. To add to the problem, the environmental impact of cars sitting on the road contributes to increased carbon emissions. Not only are we working towards better traffic flows, but the City of Joburg, in its commitment to the Paris Agreement signed at COP21, is also working to find innovative ways to combat climate change. As a leading financial district, Sandton Central prioritises both these goals,” says Jack.

Looking ahead, SCMD would like to see all CID traffic signals resynchronised but, the imminent arrival of Rea Vaya Bust Rapid Transit System in Sandton Central will require the timings to be changed again, which according to the JRA could prove a costly exercise.

“There has already been a great improvement. We are experiencing less traffic signal outages within Sandton Central as all our traffic signals have been recabled and upgraded. Going forward we hope to engage with the JRA in order to open more road accesses into Sandton Central, which is currently restricted to the only five core entries and exits,” says Jack.

She adds: “SCMD looks forward to continuing with the successful partnership we have built with city, the JRA, JMPD and Traffic Freeflow as we forge ahead to ensure a better, smarter, smoother flowing and more environmentally-friendly city, which is a great place to live, work and visit.”