Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative

Collaboration Amidst Load-Shedding: Sandton’s Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative Expands

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) together with the Sandton Central Management District (SCMD) have expanded the private sector solution to combating load-shedding – the Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative.


  • Whilst there are very few signs of any relief or solution to load-shedding in the short-term, the private sector has stepped in once more to resolve knock-on effects of rolling-blackouts.
  • Earlier this year, Investec stepped in as the first company to support the Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative by using their resources to ensure continues power to traffic lights at the intersection of Grayston Drive and Rivonia Road.
  • Now, more private sector assistance will ensure more traffic lights in Sandton remain functional, aiding traffic during the darkest of times.
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Like much of South Africa, Sandton is no stranger to the challenges posed by load-shedding – the deliberate rolling blackouts implemented by the national power utility, Eskom, to prevent the electricity grid from collapsing under excessive demand. In response to this ongoing energy crisis, the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) and the Sandton Central Management District (SCMD) have joined forces to expand a ground-breaking solution – the Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative.


The premise of this initiative is simple: connect traffic signals to independent power systems, paid for by private companies, ensuring their seamless operation even during load-shedding. This proactive approach has gained remarkable momentum, with several prominent corporations, including Sasol, Growthpoint Properties, and Nedbank, stepping up to support the cause. What began as a pioneering venture has now blossomed into a community-wide effort to keep Sandton moving forward and switched on.


The initiative’s success is evident from its expanding footprint. Starting with two intersections sponsored by Investec in May, the project has grown to include key intersections within the Sandton precinct. Notably, Nedbank has adopted the Rivonia Road and Fredman Drive intersection, Growthpoint Properties has taken responsibility for the Grayston Drive and Fifth Street junction, and Sasol has contributed to the Katherine Street and Pybus Road crossing. Moreover, Sasol’s commitment extends further with plans to support the Albertyn and Weirda Road East intersection.


Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative
Elaine Jack, District Improvement Manager of SCMD, emphasizes the positive impact of the initiative on both traffic flow and the district’s overall environment. Image: Sandton Central Management District (SCMD)

The influx of support reflects the project’s efficacy, with an additional six corporate adoptions on the horizon for testing. Jack asserts that collaboration is the key, stating that this is not just about keeping the lights on; it’s about keeping Sandton moving forward.


Zweli Nyathi, JRA’s Acting CEO, praises the initiative’s swift expansion, citing the economic benefits of improved traffic signal reliability. Zweli urges more organizations to collaborate with JRA, a call that has already been heeded by Standard Bank. The bank has teamed up with JRA and the Rosebank Management District (RMD) to power traffic intersections around its Rosebank campus, further underscoring the initiative’s relevance beyond Sandton.


The Traffic Signal Backup Power Initiative’s technical prowess lies in its ability to sustain traffic lights during load-shedding by utilizing secondary power connections from nearby properties. This cooperative endeavor exemplifies a community-wide commitment to addressing the challenges of ensuring safe and efficient traffic flow in the face of energy shortages.


As more intersections come online and more organizations step up to support the cause, the initiative’s impact will undoubtedly continue to grow, in the battle against load-shedding.


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