Africa News: Pilot program maps SA’s problem roads

Africa News:  Pilot program maps SA’s problem roads

South African motorists will, in the not too distant future, be able to see exactly which roads to avoid due to safety issues.

Starting in KwaZulu-Natal, the condition of South Africa’s roads is being mapped by the AA of SA’s counterpart in Germany, the ADAC.

According to AA of SA spokesperson, Gary Ronald, the data focuses on the roads from an engineering perspective.

The kind of information that will affect the safety rating of a road would be the height difference between the edge of the tar and the gravel, whether guardrails are present, and whether there is an unobstructed run-off area to give a motorist the chance to regain control of his vehicle without hitting an inconvenient tree.

This information, combined with prevailing weather conditions (such as fog, ice or cross-winds) and historical accident data, is used to assess the roads in terms of how safe you can expect to be when travelling on them.

The project is still in the pilot phase. Once the project has been completed, the data will be processed and incorporated into a roadmap.

The country’s roadmap will be marked to indicate which roads are rated safe (green), which should be travelled with caution (orange), and which should be avoided if possible (red).

Ronald says that the ideal situation would be to have the roadmap online, with regular updates. At this stage, he is unsure if any digital map provider will be brought on board to enable the road assessment data to be integrated with sat nav maps.

The aim of the project is to see what can be done to make South Africa’s roads safer without pouring obscene amounts of money into the infrastructure.

South Africa has one of the highest road accident death rates in the world. According to Arrive Alive statistics, between 18,000 and 25,000 people will die on SA roads next year – an average of one every 48 minutes. More than 40% of these will be pedestrians.

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