South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says that the growth in traffic demand in Johannesburg is resulting in the peak periods being extended by as much as 15 minutes each year.
Communications lead at Sanral, Vusi Mona, told Engineering News that Gauteng’s freeway toll network is nearly at capacity.
He said that the morning peak period is between 06h00 and 09h00, with the afternoon stretch at between 15h00 and 18h00, adding that there is little traffic reduction in between those peak periods.
“During the peak periods, many of the freeway sections carrying the peak direction demands are running at capacity – actually over the design capacity,” he said.
He cited the busiest section of the Gauteng open-road tolling (GORT) as being between the Buccleuch and Allandale interchanges, in Midrand, with peak volume reaching up to 11,000 vehicles each hour in each direction.
According to Engineering News, this section of road has seen volumes increase by nearly 100% since 2006, while upgrades to the Gauteng freeway network only allows for a 4.7% increase in yearly traffic since 2010.
Mona said he expects that peak periods will increase due to urbanisation. It has been reported that the population of Johannesburg grows by about 10,000 people per month – or 120,000 annually.
The stretch between the Buccleuch and Allandale interchanges could swell to 285,000 vehicles per day as early as 2020, with the highest volumes measured currently, at 283,000 vehicles.
“Essentially the average travel time could increase by ten minutes between now and 2020, but will increase exponentially from then onwards,” Mona told Engineering News.
The total cost of road traffic accidents across South Africa’s roads was estimated at R142.95 billion in 2016, equating 3.4% of GDP in that year. With Easter holidays approaching, these figures could increase if no effective drastic measures are taken. “These accidents put a strain on the country’s economy,” says Lawrence Kandaswami, MD at SAP South Africa. “It is important for all sectors, including the private sector, to understand the impact of these costs on the economy, so that we can develop strategies on how to partner with the public sector in managing the influx of a growing population in need of safe, reliable public transport.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to become a $1.46 trillion industry by 2020. This innovation will have a positive influence across all sectors of business, including public transport, security and in the provision of public healthcare. According to the United Nations, as much as 66% of the global population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. This means that cities will face many challenges, mostly centred around having to leverage limited resources to deal with a growing influx of people needing services. Public transport is one of the many sectors that will experience strain because of high traffic volumes which can lead to increased road fatalities.
Solving traffic problems with an IoT mindset
Accessibility and safety of public transport is one of the major challenges facing modern urban centres. Navigant Research predicts that from 2025 onwards, public transportation itself will become more of an on-demand service, involving a more efficient use of buses. An IDC report also illustrates that there are 152,000 smart devices being used every minute globally, pointing to a future where the success of cities will be heavily determined by the level of smart and innovative technologies they use.
Additionally, a more citizen-centric business model for service delivery can help alleviate problems such as traffic congestion, safety and shortages of resources especially in public healthcare facilities. Citizens need tangible outcomes, enjoyable experiences and more personalised services. This is what will capture the hearts of many citizens across the continent.
“Smart traffic and IoT are critical for cities to operate more efficiently with better managed traffic flow and open lines of engagement between cities and citizens. This innovation offers the potential of a much safer and inclusive community with the amplified use of digital devices for municipal services across the country,” added Kandaswami.
In this age of innovation, cities are urged to think differently, have a clear vision of the city’s future and a digital transformation roadmap to get there. IoT, like other innovative technologies, presents cities such as Nanjing, China, with exciting fresh methodologies and real-time insights on finding new ways to connect, manage their operations better and provide real value to citizens.
Reimagining the ways cities work with IoT
South African cities stand to benefit immensely from IoT, especially with the high quality and speed that comes with network connectivity and infrastructure. The escalation in urbanisation and climate change is also putting pressure on cities’ management. These require speed and agility, to be able to respond in real-time to challenges such as road accident emergencies and service disruptions. “The biggest challenge we see, so far, is the adoption of technology into cities’ services models, the process requires an innovative technology platform with the ability to work with multiple data sources across all services while providing real-time insights for cities to make fast, accurate decisions,” says Kandaswami.
Cities need to capitalise on innovation opportunities by identifying solutions and planning better for natural disasters and emergencies. Connectivity and data analytics will play an increasingly critical role in helping cities and governments to provide more efficient and effective healthcare, transport and security services, using real-time technology platforms such as SAP S4/HANA.
Big data drives smart traffic
There are three key factors contributing to a smart traffic city namely; people (both drivers and passengers), vehicles and road infrastructure. Innovation is transforming how these key factors could operate harmoniously. As an example, organisations such as Keifuku Bus Company in Japan provide services and solutions that are putting people first using the SAP connected transport safety technology, which allows for data sharing amongst most major cities that are installed with traffic light sensor technologies to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. Innovation helps city managers make decisions for traffic planning and policies fast.
“SAP is convinced that, with the amount of traffic data available in South Africa alone, we could help measure, analyse and manage traffic volumes much better, by using technology and taking advantage of the traffic big data. The ability to analyse traffic big data will help cities consolidate different data sources into a single reliable source for better traffic management, reporting and insight,” explains Kandaswami.
The current South Africa road traffic data availability is not integrated, as it is collected from multiple sources which makes the quality of data unreliable. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation of South Africa, having a quality comprehensive traffic management system is vital for accurate data collection, analysis and reporting across all factors including human casualties and related costs.
“Leveraging technology will present cities, transport authorities with innovative ways of how to improve road safety, provide sustainable, efficient public transport, manage traffic flows and speed up response time to the inevitable challenges of rapid urbanisation.”
The mayor of Paris this week issued a stern warning to Amazon over its express delivery service, raising concerns over its impact on local businesses and criticising the US company for informing authorities “only a few days” before it launched.
In a press release published Sunday, the office of Mayor Anne Hidalgo called on Amazon to guarantee that its Prime Now delivery service will not add to the city’s pollution problems and that it will preserve the “diversity” of Paris’ economy.
Amazon launched its Prime Now service in Paris last week, offering one-hour delivery of more than 18,000 items to Amazon Prime subscribers. The service covers fresh and frozen foods, though the Seattle-based company says it is distinct from its Amazon Fresh grocery service, which launched in the UK earlier this month. Amazon is charging €5.90 for one-hour delivery, or free two-hour delivery on orders of at least €20.
In its press release, Hidalgo’s office said it would file a dossier with local legislators to determine whether safeguards are needed to protect local businesses. In an interview with FranceInfo, Olivia Polski, City Hall’s adjoint for artisanal and independent businesses, described Prime Now as a form of “unfair competition” that will harm local merchants, noting that it will not face the same taxes and regulatory requirements as other vendors.
“While this operation is liable to severely destabilize the commercial equilibrium of Paris, this large American enterprise only decided to inform authorities a few days before its launch,” the mayor’s office said.
An Amazon France spokesperson declined to comment on the mayor’s statements when reached by The Verge.
Multinationals like Amazon, Google, and Facebook have for years faced regulatory hurdles in France and other European countries, amid concerns over tax schemes and unfair competitive practices, as have sharing economy startups like Uber and Airbnb. Earlier this month, the European Union called on member states to take a softer approach to regulating sharing economy services, in an attempt to harmonize rules across the EU.
Amazon has come under particularly severe criticism from French authorities over its impact on domestic businesses. In 2013, Aurelie Filippetti, France’s culture minister at the time, described Amazon as a “destroyer of bookshops,” and a law that went into effect in 2014 banned Amazon and other online retailers from offering free shipping on discounted books. (In response, Amazon began offering a €0.01 shipping charge on discounted titles.)
Earlier this year, it was reported that Amazon was planning to acquire the French shipping company Colis Privé, in which it already owns a 25% stake, but the US company told the AFP last month that it had abandoned those plans for “reasons exterior to Amazon and beyond our control.” French newspaper Les Echos later reported that the acquisition fell apart during negotiations with France’s competition authority.
By Amar Toor for www.theverge.com