Even on the safest of roads, incidents will occur – a vehicle will stall in mid-traffic or, worse, a driver will be distracted and bump into the vehicle in front of him. That can cause huge disruptions to traffic, may lead to material losses and even serious injuries.
Essentially, just building an excellent highway is not all a road agency has to do. It also has to manage it, to ensure the safety of road users but also enhance the flow of traffic.
SANRAL does this through the Central Operations Centre at Samrand along the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is the operational nerve centre of the e-toll system for the roads agency. It is from here that the Gauteng Freeway Management System (FMS) is operated.
It uses high definition cameras which are all linked to this command centre. They monitor the country’s first multi-lane free-flow toll system. The system is managed by Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), providing road users with a smoother and safer journey, and is an important contributor to keeping South Africa’s economic hub moving.
Improved lighting, real-time signage and management of the traffic flows are elements in enhancing road safety while making the N1 between Johannesburg and Pretoria user-friendly due to instant information being available to road users.
Traffic flow monitoring also highlights immediately where a road incident or accident is occurring, or has just occurred, and activates SANRAL’s on-road services – providing medical responses and towing services while reducing the impact of incidents on the flow of traffic.
These services are decentralised at strategic positions across the road network to allow for a rapid response to incidents. The services are operated 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Information about traffic conditions is also available via twitter (@itrafficgp).
There are also freeway management systems in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
So, when you’re on the road, for business or leisure, keep an eye out for the traffic messages that may just make your trip easier.