Thermal sensors to keep the traffic flowing

The pedestrian crossing at Otto du Plessis Drive fitted with thermal sensors.

New technology installed to improve traffic flow at pedestrian crossings in the Table View area has been welcomed.

The City of Cape Town has installed thermal sensors at four pedestrian crossings along Marine Drive and Otto du Plessis in Blaauwberg.

The City said the technology is the first of its kind in South Africa.

These can be found along Marine Drive opposite Milky Lane, along Otto du Plessis Drive opposite Seal Road, along Otto du Plessis Drive at Shell Road, as well as along Otto du Plessis close to Hill Road, opposite Doodles.

“We often see that vehicles are queuing at red traffic signals long after pedestrians have crossed the road. With this innovative system, the thermal sensors at pedestrian crossings are used to detect whether there is any pedestrian movement. Should the pedestrian leave the detection zone before the pedestrian cycle is activated, the pedestrian request will be cancelled altogether. Thus vehicles will not be stopped unnecessarily,” said the City’s Mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Rob Quintas.

He said hopefully with the thermal sensors at these crossings we will have fewer red light violations and frustrated drivers.

Mr Quintas said a huge bonus is that the system is less prone to vandalism. He sad they often find push-buttons at pedestrian crossings are jammed with sticks or broken.

“A thermal pedestrian crossing does not require push-buttons, seeing that it operates automatically,” said Mr Quintas.

He adds that the system is not affected by low lighting conditions or even total darkness as they are using thermal imaging to detect presence.

Table View Ratepayers’ Association chairperson, Mande De Matta, said thermal sensors should be a bonus for both motorists and the environment, provided they work optimally.

“If the pilot project is proven to be correct then the City of Cape Town should implement these sensors on all new installations across the city. It may be cost prohibitive to replace all the existing systems,” said Ms De Matta.

Table View resident, Peter Doveton, thinks the system is a great idea.

“For once the authorities are being an asset rather than a hindrance. Anything to keep the traffic moving. Next step would be the circle at the Blouberg turn-off,” he said.

Ward 107 councillor, Nicky Rheeder said she welcomes action which will lead to the improvement of the ward and the lives of the residents.

“We have had a lot of residents frustrated with the pedestrian crossing traffic light being red for extended periods with no pedestrian in sight. If the sensors do what the experts say, then it will most certainly eliminate those occurrences,” she said.

Ms Rheeder said she is happy to have her ward be the first in South Africa to receive the technology.

“There are many pedestrians using the beachfront and surrounding areas, and this makes the ward a perfect place to test the effectiveness of the technology,” she said.

Ms Rheeder said she cannot wait to see the results.

From left, councillors Rob Quintas and Wouter de Vos; the City’s Executive Director for Urban Mobility, Dalen Campbell; and ward councillor Nicola Jowell use the pedestrian crossing at Otto du Plessis Drive close to Hill Road, opposite Doodles, where the City has implemented thermal sensors to improve traffic flow.