The City of Johannesburg’s ‘No Joints Policy’ which was implemented to address traffic light downtime is starting to show positive results, mayoral committee member for transport Nonhlanhla Makhuba said.

The policy serves to progressively reduce the high incidences of signal downtime at the most critical high volume intersections in the city.

Makhuba explained that the policy did away with the joining of old cables whenever an electrical fault was reported at a downed traffic light. Instead, these damaged cables are now replaced with new cables.

“During the 2016/17 financial year (which ended in June), 89 intersections were re-cabled and are now joint free,” she said. “There has also been an 18% reduction in the average number of daily traffic light faults between November 2016 and June 2017.”

Makhuba added that there was also a 60% improvement in the average time taken to repair faults, excluding faults caused by power outages. “This has resulted in a 55% reduction in the average traffic light downtime per day,” she said.

Power outages remain a major contributor to traffic signal downtime, constituting 50% of the daily faults reported.

“Increased interaction between the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), City Power, and Eskom is being prioritised to address this issue,” Makhuba said. “Similarly to the JRA, City Power and Eskom are also affected by problems of ageing infrastructure and cable theft, which result in power outages.”

In March 2017, the city allocated an additional R6 million to the JRA through the mid-year adjustment process to enable the accelerated implementation of the policy. Makhuba said this allocation was also used to improve the JRA’s traffic light fault detection systems, to improve signal timings to reduce congestion and for security surveillance at critical intersections that are prone to infrastructure theft.

She also said additional funding was provided for hiring personnel, which saw the JRA recruit additional traffic light repair technicians.

In the new financial year, R45 million has been allocated for the replacement of damaged cables and R30 million has been allocated for the installation of uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units at key intersections. “With the additional funding for UPS units, the JRA will be able to install UPS units at 230 high traffic volume intersections per annum,” Makhuba said.

She added that the city was gradually turning the tide on its traffic congestion, and that her office was committed to tackling infrastructure challenges to enable the creation of an environment that facilitates economic growth and opportunities for all.