Council last month started installing a new traffic management system based on video signals (CCTV) to count traffic and optimise traffic flow. According to Wikipedia, CCTV is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place on a limited set of monitors. The system was first used in 1942 but only became popular after the availability of VCR technology in the 1970s. CCTV is mostly used to curb crime in open areas as it allows monitoring in real-time.
So far cameras have been installed at the intersections of Julius Nyerere and Jason Moyo as well as on Julius Nyerere and Robert Mugabe. The City’s corporate communications division said the new traffic management system will be effective in managing traffic flow. “The system allows more passage time for vehicles coming from a certain direction in the event that there is more traffic in that direction,” said the division. Over the years council has battled to control traffic congestion in the city centre and it is believed that the CCTV system will improve traffic flow. The CCTV system will also help council to bring to book traffic offenders.
“Videos and pictures of vehicles that shoot through red robots will be taken and the owners will receive instant cell phone messages and a ticket relating to the road traffic offence. If the ticket is not paid the vehicle owner will not be able to renew their vehicle licence,” added the corporate communications division.
Council’s corporate communications department said, “Once the project is fully operational we will notify the public.” The CCTV project is still in the testing stage and full scale roll out to other areas will be determined by the success of the on-going trials.
Sharon Magodyo, the community coordinator for Harare Residents Trust (HRT), said, “The HRT supports the installation of CCTV as this creates order on the streets and penalises those who violate the law. However, council should first consider the more important issue of creating parking spaces to reduce congestion,” said Magodyo.
One motorist in the City, who refused to be named, said that it was a good plan for council to install cameras, “I believe CCTV will deter motorists from committing traffic offences because they will know that someone is always watching them. But it is sad that there are no signs to notify residents and motorists of the presence of cameras at the intersections.”
Pride Mazango (35) from Eastlea said that he believes that the CCTV system will be effective in monitoring traffic in the City but bemoaned the slow rate at which Harare is adopting new technologies. “It is sad that we are only moving to adopt some of these technologies now but I think it is coming at the right time for Harare considering that the City is aiming for world class status by 2025,” said Mazango.
Another resident of Harare, Yemurai Sibanda (24) from Warren Park, said that the CCTV system will also help pedestrians. “I believe the cameras will also help in identifying pick pockets that operate at the robots in town,” said Sibanda.
Photo: Video still from CCTV footage showing a dramatic accident on Samora Machel in which two pedestrians nearly lost their lives.