#TransformJoburgCity: Here’s Mashaba’s Plans To Fix Joburg Traffic Light Mess

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Moving on with his plans to transform his municipality, mayor Herman Mashaba has laid out plans on how to fix Joburg traffic light mess.

The mayor who has taken it upon himself to bring the city back to life by putting in place all needed infrastructures, had on Wednesday unveiled plans to tackle the city’s traffic light challenges.

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Addressing the media on the Johannesburg Roads Agency’s (JRA) new programmes to ease traffic congestion, Mayor Herman Mashaba said this morning that through the city road agency, he will implement interventions combating the challenge of traffic signal downtime at key traffic intersections throughout Joburg.

“Traffic light outages are among the top frustrations for Joburg residents and visitors to our city,

“Up until now, we addressed issues of downed Joburg traffic light by simply joining cables in the event of an electrical fault,” Mashaba said pointing out that the project was made possible through the city’s recent budget adjustment – allocating R6 million to replace cabling at traffic intersections as part of the city’s no-join Policy.

“Each join in the cabling of a traffic light is an electrical weakness in the circuit that makes it vulnerable to rain, electrical surges and lightening. The no-join policy launched today serves to reduce the high number of electrical faults over time for the most critical high volume intersections in the city,” the mayor said.

Explaining further how the this project would go, Mashaba said starting with key intersections, JRA technicians will no longer join old cables when an electrical fault is reported at a downed traffic light, instead, it will totally replace them with new ones

It’s the city’s ultimate goal is to progressively roll out this no-join policy on a city-wide scale beginning in its 2017/2018 financial year and by doing this, we will make Joburg’s traffic network more resilient to the impact of wet weather conditions, lightning and electrical surges which contribute to signal downtime, Mashaba said.



JRA Managing Director Sean Philips said the agency has budgeted close around R200 million over the next three to prioritize around 180 Joburg traffic light annually.

“There are more of these innovations coming in the future, but for now our main focus is on getting the Joburg traffic lights working, getting the basics right first. Our focus is on getting the repair teams out quicker, getting better diagnostics of the faults and doing better quality repairs so that the amount of down time is reduced,” said Philips.

Traffic intersections  have been largely regarded as one of the top vital issues that would help in achieving the city’s target for 5% economic growth – providing much needed opportunities for residents.

“This said, there are a number of other challenges which need to be addressed to improve traffic signal performance in the city,” he said.

Other challenges faced by the traffic network can vary from highly complex electrical technical issues, poor quality maintenance, or theft of cables, to accidents at intersections where vehicles crash into the poles, knocking poles over and damaging the cables, Mashaba said.

The following will therefore be implemented by the city administration  to significantly reduce traffic signal downtime:

  • The implementation of a “no-join” cable policy at key intersections, to reduce the risk of technical faults resulting from water getting into joints;
  • Forging closer working relationships with power supply utilities such as city Power and Eskom, to ensure that power is restored quickly when it goes off at traffic signals;
  • Enhancing the use of a Smart Traffic System, including remote monitoring of the traffic signals, to ensure that faults are detected and repaired quickly by the JRA;
  • Establish a 24/7 Traffic Operations Centre, to ensure that the condition of the traffic lights can be monitored so that technicians can be dispatched to carry out repairs;
  • Increased Joburg traffic light security systems in the fight against vandalism and theft; and
  • Supplying mobile generators to temporarily power to intersections affected by power supply outages. This will alleviate interruptions to traffic signal which contributes 28% of daily traffic signal outages.

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Mashaba ended his speech saying the technological improvements will not result in any job losses. “In fact they are becoming more labour intensive,” he said.

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