Find and Fix could be the solution to Jo’burg’s infrastructure challenges

| 20 May 2014

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When you talk to anyone about being stuck in Johannesburg traffic, you can immediately see their anxiety levels rise when they start recollecting long traffic jams.

Remind them about February and March of 2014 and the heavy rains across Gauteng and they start getting heart palpitations.

There is no escaping traffic in Joburg especially when it rains. Traffic light signals go down and potholes appear out of nowhere, causing major disruptions to the lives of thousands of commuters.

Traffic delays not only cause frustrations to motorists but they also costs the economy millions in lost productivity and damage to vehicles.

The truth is that Johannesburg has had explosive growth in the last three decades. As Africa’s economic hub the city is fast approaching a population of 5 million people.

03_JRA_WP8_HubLandingThe Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is responsible for most the city’s transport infrastructure. In total Joburg has 2 114 traffic lights, 10 000 km of roads and has a budget of R192 million for the 2014/15 financial year.

But with this incredible growth we have also seen massive challenges in maintaining this infrastructure efficiently.

Joburg citizens also have frustrations in reporting problems. Often call centres are difficult to get through to in order to report infrastructure problems.

The JRA is hoping to change this by launching an innovative app in order to streamline the entire process and encourage residents to report issues as they see them. The Find and Fix mobile app aims to create a partnership between the city and its residents and foster a culture of “Active Citizenry” by encouraging Joburgers to report problems.

The Find & Fix app is designed to work with smart phones and will enable users to report potholes, faulty traffic light signals, storm water drains, manhole covers, and other infrastructure issues that fall under the JRA’s responsibility.

“The launch of this new smartphone app forms part of the JRA’s turnaround strategy and service delivery drive”, says Skhumbuzo Macozoma, JRA Managing Director, “The organisation is committed to becoming more accessible to citizens and road users and to developing itself into a centre of engineering excellence with enhanced service delivery and satisfied customers”.

The JRA’s aim is to make the agency accessible to all. The JRA already has touch points with the public on email on twitter (@MyJRA) and on Facebook.

 

06_JRA_WP8_NewCaptureThe Find & Fix app is incredibly easy to use. Once downloaded users will need to register before using it. The app opens app to a really simple menu with six choices:

  • Traffic Light
  • Pothole
  • Signage
  • Stormwater
  • Manhole
  • General Issue

When you click on one of the icons a separate page opens up that geolocates you using the GPS functionality of the smartphone and users will then have an opportunity to also include a picture of the problem and make relevant comments.

As soon the issue is logged the JRA will receive the information on their user interface along with the exact coordinate of the problem.

The whole process is aimed at streaming the entire process by enhancing the efficiencies thus increasing productivity. It also takes away pressure from the call centre.

It will also enable the JRA to focus on hotspots and also discover trends in where urgent maintenance is needed.

Currently the app geolocates users at the point where they want to report a problem, making it difficult to report something while driving. The JRA is hoping to find a solution to this issue in the future by allowing users to add the location of the problem on the map within the app.

The app only covers Johannesburg for now, but there are plans to extend the range of the app into other municipalities like Ekurhuleni, Mogale City and Tshwane.

The JRA Find & Fix app is available for Windows Phone devices, Android phones and there is an iOS version for Apple users, which will be coming in the next week.

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