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“Traffic congestion is not only a challenge in our city or country, it is a global issue, affecting even the most developed cities in the world. 

“As an economic hub, our rate of urbanisation, issues of historic spatial planning and the rapid growth of development have exacerbated this challenge. The inadequate accessibility to integrated public transport modes also plays a role in our congestion problems.”

That’s how the MMC for Transport, Cllr Nonhlanhla Makhuba, kicked off proceeding at a webinar hosted by the City of Johannesburg, presented by the Transport Department, on Monday 12 October 2020. 

The webinar forms part of a series of stakeholder engagements being hosted during the October Transport Month 2020 (OTM2020).  This year the City adopted the national Department of Transport (DOT) theme titled “Together Shaping the Future of Transport”. 

MMC Makhuba was joined by Director for Policy Development and Strategic Planning, Daisy Dwango; Operations Manager: Traffic Engineering Services, Esther Schmidt; and Acting Chief of Police, Angela Mokasi. The speakers presented papers from various perspectives.     

The purpose of the webinar was to raise awareness on the various aspects required to decongest the traffic especially during the traffic peak period. The engagement further provided insight on future engineering and 4IR solutions to the traffic problems. 

“Though as a City we have made strides towards mass transit with the introduction of Rea Vaya and to a certain extent with Metrobus, there is still more that needs to be done as a collective to address the issues of our residents living far away from their places of work and education forcing households to spend over 40% of their monthly income on transport costs” said Cllr Makhuba. 

She said the City needs to continue engaging all spheres of government and business to work towards finding innovative solutions.  “The time to think outside the box is now, we can no longer use the same remedies to manage congestion in our City. We will need to be innovative in the way forward in order to build congestion free roads for our future generations.”  

Dwango presented the key transport strategies on managing congestion in the City.  She said: “The City has identified non-motorised transport as one of the methods used to manage traffic congestion.  The City is moving away from only planning for the vehicles but for all modes of transport. These include, inter alia, dedicated network of high quality pedestrian and cycling, integrating cycling at public transport nodes, and amending relevant technical roads standards and planning requirements.” 

“We need to improve sustainable transport modes and reduce travel by restructuring the city.  We need to build cities that enable our people to work, live, study and play in the same areas,” said Dwango.   

Schmidt delivered a presentation on Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA)’s management of road infrastructure to improve traffic congestion. She stated that the City has several tools that are used to manage traffic lights to decrease the downtime experienced on the network.

Mokasi concluded the webinar by presenting the JMPD traffic management plan. She said traffic congestion in the City is a huge challenge for JMPD due to power failures, load shedding, cable theft, and scheduled maintenance. JMPD is addressing the congestion by deploying officers at major traffic intersections across all the City’s seven regions.