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Combating traffic using smart technology

South Africa’s transport infrastructure is not geared for growth, according to Thomas Snyman, Director: ITS Solutions, Huawei Enterprise Business Group.

Snyman believes there’s a dire need to change the way communities and government engage with transport challenges in order to create a safer and more efficient environment.

He unpacked how technology may be the loophole that South African infrastructure needs to get itself on the road to recovery citing congestion, lack of planning, last minute installations, and dangerous driving as negatively impacting legacy infrastructure.

He said, “SANRAL has been paying attention and there has been investment into key infrastructure. Just take a look at Allandale road – that intersection is handling between 70-80 thousand vehicles a day.

“The M1 sees around 300 thousand cars a day. The problem is that we can’t keep on widening the roads so we need to travel smarter and use technology to change how people perceive and engage with travel.”

Snyman explained that when the roads get congested people get anxious and when they get anxious, they tend to bend the rules. He said, this is where transport goes ‘wild west’ as drivers head down the yellow lane and block routes for emergency vehicles and cause the accidents they’re trying to avoid.

He believes that cities need to look to solutions that embed Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) or Transport-as-a-Service (TaaS) and ones that allow residents to adopt transport alternatives.

“Technology should provide more informative ways of travelling,” said Snyman. “One example is the existing freeway management system. If we can put on more travel information boards we can inform the public of congestion before the point of no return. Give them options – get off the highway, find a new route, mitigate the impact of congestion around the incident.”

Snyman also believes that this can be embedded down to the micro level; not just government using technology to revolutionise infrastructure, but individuals adopting applications like Waze or Google Maps Traffic, which indicate areas of low and high traffic flow and smoothly direct traffic along less popular routes.

Road solutions from Huawei

For Huawei, smart road solutions are the key to solving the transportation conundrum. The company uses solutions that can monitor traffic, identify transgressions, and inform the relevant services such as police, ambulance or SANRAL.

“All control sits within one central command centre. A hub that manages all the data and input to ensure that services, traffic, communities and infrastructure are seamlessly connected and controlled,” said Snyman.

“This blend of technology and existing infrastructure allows for the road agencies, services and systems to co-exist and collaborate effectively,” he concluded.


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