System allows road users to plan and navigate their way through traffic with real-time information.
Travelling between Pretoria and Johannesburg has become safer since the implementation of the intelligent Freeway Management System (FMS) in Gauteng over the last few years.
The FMS assists motorists to plan and better navigate their way through traffic with the provision of real-time information on travel times and incidents on SANRAL freeways in the province.
Medical, mechanical and law enforcement teams can now respond to an incident in between six and 18 minutes.
FMS is active on about 251km of freeways in Gauteng and currently includes 10 incident response units, 10 towing recovery units, eight units for heavy recovery and six motorcycle medical response units stationed at strategic points on the freeways. All these units have highly trained first responders with specialized equipment and are operational 24 hours every day.
The FMS system makes use of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technologies which involve the integrated deployment of communications technologies, traffic management software and control devices such as closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), variable message signs (VMS) and traffic detectors to manage and monitor the freeways.
Using these technologies, the system feeds live footage to SANRAL’s Central Operations Centre, which allows the roads agency to continually improve its management of the road network.
Working with metro police departments and roads agencies in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, it also contributes to effective routine road maintenance, ensuring the removal of road obstructions and hazards.
Progress Hlahla, Regional Manager in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo for SANRAL, said: “Travelling between Tshwane and Johannesburg can take up to one-hour-and-30-minutes in peak morning and afternoon traffic. Our system is built for quick responses to various incidents so that users of our roads have less to worry about after a long day at work.”
Commuters and traffic
According to reports, commuters in Johannesburg and Pretoria spent an average of around 46 and 26 hours in congested traffic during the respective peak periods in 2017.
Further to this, Johannesburg motorists spend more time in congestion than commuters in large European cities such as Berlin, Manchester and Rome.
“We understand how our roads impact the lives of ordinary South Africans and are cognisant of the fact that we need well-managed roads to meet the economic goals of our country,” said Hlahla.
In addition to the time saving, the FMS also presents fuel savings benefits for road users if they can factor in the real-time updated information from SANRAL’s VMS communications or i-traffic (www.i-traffic.co.za / @itrafficgp on Twitter) into their trip.
The FMS system deals with an average of 3?000 traffic-related incidents per month with the majority of these being stationary vehicles on the freeways.
Crashes make up around 15% of the total incidents on the Gauteng freeway network.
“With the success of the initial system in Gauteng, we aim to expand the existing footprint with the hope that we will make roads in the region safer,” said Hlahla.
The FMS system has also been implemented in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.