Freeways under 24-hour surveillance

More than 240 strategically placed CCTV cameras on Cape Town’s major freeways feed real-time information on traffic conditions to the South African National Road Agency Limited’s (SANRAL) Traffic Management System, day and night.

Engineering manager for operations at Sanral in the Western, Randall Cable, said video feeds from these cameras are sent to a central control room at the Traffic Management Centre in Goodwood.

Speaking at a FleetWatch Brake & Tyre Watch event in Cape Town, he said: “The centre is operated jointly by Sanral, the City of Cape Town and the provincial government, as part of the Freeway Management System (FMS) that became operational in 2010.”

The operations centre incorporates both transport- and safety-related functions.

Since its inception, the Traffic Management System has helped co-ordinated response teams get to the scenes of more than 12 300 crashes on Cape’s major freeways.

“This service can save road users time and frustration by providing data on congestion, crashes and other traffic incidents as they happen, so they can plan their routes better and avoid problem areas,” Mr Cable said.

The site is updated by Freeway Management System (FMS) operators and, in many cases, photos are included in the tweet to illustrate the impact and location of the incident.

“Through the dedicated FMS website, road users can literally scan the traffic flow on their planned freeway route,” Mr Cable said.

“Road users have ready access to real-time speed maps and visuals from more than 240 CCTV cameras along the city’s busiest freeways.

“Imagine being able to sit in your office in the CBD and see real-time images, speeds and travel times on your route home. People can plan better and make more productive use of their time when they are more informed. This service is all about arming road users with accurate traffic information,” he said.

The FMS covers the N1, from the CBD to the Huguenot Toll Plaza; the N2 from the CBD to the top of Sir Lowry’s Pass; the R300 between the N1 and the N2; the M5 between the N1 and N2 and the N7 between the N1 and the Potsdam Interchange.

In all, approximately 155km of the busiest freeways in Cape Town are under 24/7 surveillance.

Mr Cable said traffic services and FMS operators work closely together to ensure the best service to road users.

“The ability to coordinate a multi-agency response to a major incident, from a single location that has a real-time video feed, has already saved Cape Town motorists hundreds of hours of frustration in congestion and delays.”

Sanral, in partnership with the provincial government and the City of Cape Town, have funded the implementation of the Cape Town FMS. Apart from the numerous CCTV cameras, Sanral runs 53 electronic boards, or variable message signs (VMS) along Cape Town freeways, which are also used to convey updated information to motorists.

Real-time information about Cape Town freeway traffic conditions are available at and on Twitter @CapeTownFreeway