Mobile operator Vodacom SA has partnered with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to power traffic lights at busy intersections during load-shedding.
The initial stage of the partnership, facilitated through a service level agreement (SLA), will see Vodacom provide backup power to the traffic lights at intersections near its campus in Midrand.
This includes traffic lights on 13th Road and Vodacom Boulevard (entrance and exit) as well as Lever Road and Vodacom Boulevard, a statement notes.
Sitho Mdlalose, CEO of Vodacom SA, says: “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.”
JRA acting CEO Zweli Nyathi adds: “The formalisation of this partnership with Vodacom will help ease load-shedding traffic congestion along surrounding routes and bring relief to road users of between 2 000 and 3 000 vehicles travelling in both directions on Lever Road during morning and afternoon peak hour.”
Vodacom in October announced plans to turn its Midrand campus into solar plant, saying the facility was being kitted out with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
At the time, the mobile operator said the solar PV panels would allow its headquarters to generate around 10.8 gigawatt-hours of clean power annually, helping to reduce its reliance on the national grid.
From a technical perspective, according to the statement, the JRA will redesign the signal wiring at the targeted intersections. This is to ensure electricity from the Vodacom campus kicks in when load-shedding occurs.
The JRA will also handle all the infrastructure works outside of the Vodacom campus boundaries, while Vodacom will manage any necessary infrastructure changes within the campus boundaries.
“Our participation in this traffic signal backup power initiative with the JRA aligns with our purpose-led strategy. 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,” notes Mdlalose.
City of Joburg MMC for transport Kenny Kunene comments that he 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 load-shedding.
“This joining of hands 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.”