FREEWAY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM HITS KZN
The South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited has successfully implemented the Freeway Management System on Kwazulu-Natal’s roads as part of its efforts to reduce congestion and keep motorists safe.The system relays real-time information to alert motorists about incidents that are unsafe and most likely to cause build-up of traffic and subsequent delays.
Nkabinde Dumisani, Regional Manager (Eastern Regional) for Sanral, says Freeway Management System (FMS) consists of technologies and strategies to monitor, control, and manage freeway traffic more effectively.“A freeway can have six lanes but a single incident such as a breakdown or collision can have a major impact on the flow of traffic in both directions,” Dumisani explains.
The system employs Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technologies which involve the integrated deployment of communications technologies, traffic management software and control devices such as closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), variable message signs (CCTV) and traffic detectors to enable the active management and monitoring of freeways.
“The many benefits to the road user on such a managed network include improved congestion management, faster detection, verification and response to road incidents such as accidents, road obstructions and road hazards; and provision of real time traveller information to road users.
“These benefits directly result in safer roads, savings in travel times and fuel costs, as well as contributing to a cleaner environment,” Nkabinde notes.
Protecting the busiest sections
The FMS in KZN currently covers around 120 km of the busiest sections of the N2 and N3 – from the Prospecton interchange on the N2, northward to the Watson Highway interchange, and on the N3 from the Candella Road bridge to the Market Road. Further expansions are in the process from Market Road to the Cedara Interchange which includes the high accident zone at Town Hill.
These freeway sections are equipped with 147 CCTV cameras, 26 VMS units and 57 radar vehicle detection units, all linked through a fibre optic communications backbone to a Traffic Management Centre (TMC) located at the Sanral offices in Pietermaritzburg.