MIDRAND –Vodacom South Africa (VSA) is the latest company and property owner to partner with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to ensure that traffic signals along major intersections operate during load shedding. This partnership spearheaded by the JRA and facilitated through a Service Level Agreement (SLA) will leverage electricity sourced from Vodacom's adjacent buildings to power traffic lights. Through this initial phase of the partnership Vodacom will provide backup power to the traffic lights at intersections near the Vodacom campus in Midrand specifically on 13th Road and Vodacom Boulevard (entrance and exit) as well as Lever Road and Vodacom Boulevard.
According to Sitho Mdlalose, CEO of Vodacom South Africa, this partnership emphasises the importance of business and government working together to tackle societal challenges. "Motorists in the area can spend an unnecessarily extended amount of time stuck in traffic because of non-functioning traffic lights in the area. And when people are running late, this hinders their productivity, which, in turn negatively affects our economy," says Mdlalose. Additionally, non-functioning traffic lights can cause a rise in criminal activity, as well an increase in accidents. "Through this partnership we hope to drive efficiency on our roads and ensure the safety of our community."
"Class 3 arterials like Lever Road perform an important network function as they provide connections between the various suburban areas located within Midrand and act as important collectors delivering traffic to the major class 2 arterials such as New Road and the N1 freeway," explains JRA Acting CEO Zweli Nyathi. "Therefore, JRA is delighted with the formalisation of this partnership with Vodacom which will help ease loadshedding traffic congestion along surrounding routes and bring relief to road users of between 2000 and 3000 vehicles travelling in both directions on Lever Road during morning and afternoon peak hour."
From a technical perspective, the partnership involves a JRA redesign of the signal wiring at the intersections in question. This will ensure that electricity from the Vodacom campus kicks in when load shedding occurs. In addition, the JRA will handle all the infrastructure works outside of the Vodacom campus boundaries, while Vodacom will manage any necessary infrastructure changes within the campus boundaries.
"As part of our journey to connect people for a better future, we are always exploring ways in which we can work with government to address the many socio-economic ills that face our country. Our participation in this Traffic Signal Backup Power initiative with the JRA aligns with our purpose-led strategy", notes Mdlalose. "We are also engaged in discussions with Eskom to explore how we can on-board more IPPs on the grid through a virtual wheeling platform", concludes Mdlalose.
Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Transport, Councillor Kenny Kunene applauds the signing of this SLA today between JRA and Vodacom South Africa and is encouraged by the widespread interest in the Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative, "JRA is inundated with requests from corporates, schools and even NGOs across Johannesburg willing to partner with the entity in keeping the City's traffic lights on and most essentially, keeping traffic flowing during loadshedding. This joining of hands today with Vodacom as well as the 39 other Service Level Agreements that are in progress, is a positive boost to growing our local economy as less time in congested traffic means more productive time at the office, the factory, and the school", says Kunene.