Vodacom’s plan to keep traffic lights on during load-shedding

Vodacom is evaluating whether it would be viable to power traffic lights near its radio sites in South Africa.

The network operator, in partnership with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), launched an initiative in July 2023 to power traffic lights near its Midrand campus using backup power from its buildings.

The plan to keep traffic lights on during load-shedding involved the JRA redesigning the signal wiring at relevant intersections to ensure power from the Vodacom campus kicks in during a power outage.

The JRA agreed to handle all infrastructure works outside the Vodacom campus’s boundaries, while Vodacom will manage any infrastructure changes on campus.

According to the acting CEO of the JRA, Zweli Nyathi, the project in Midrand would help ease load-shedding traffic on surrounding routes, easing the burden on some 2,000 to 3,000 motorists daily during the morning and afternoon peak hours.

“JRA is delighted with the formalisation of this partnership with Vodacom,” said Nyathi.

“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.”

Sitho Mdlalose, CEO of Vodacom South Africa.

MyBroadband asked Vodacom for an update on the project and whether it plans to expand to more areas in the country.

“Vodacom is assessing the viability of powering up traffic lights within the proximity to its radio sites,” a Vodacom spokesperson said.

“The City of Johannesburg has provided a list of priority areas where feasibility is being investigated.”

The mobile operator signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the JRA in July 2023, with the roads agency spearheading the project.

Vodacom said the initiative in the area around its Midrand campus is only the first phase of the project.

“Motorists in the area can spend an unnecessarily extended amount of time stuck in traffic because of non-functioning traffic lights in the area,” said Sitho Mdlalose, CEO at Vodacom South Africa.

“When people are running late, this hinders their productivity, which, in turn, negatively affects our economy.”

Non-functioning traffic lights also result in increased criminal activity and more accidents, adding that the initiative aims to help improve efficiency and road safety.

Mdlalose said the operator also engaged in discussions with Eskom to explore ways to on-board more independent power products through virtual wheeling.

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Vodacom’s plan to keep traffic lights on during load-shedding