Of the P1.87 billion that the Ministry of Transport and Communications will get for the 2022/23 financial year, part of it will go towards establishing a state-of-the-art, first-of-its-kind road traffic command-and-control centre at the heart of Gaborone.
Formally known as the Centralised Traffic Control for the Greater Gaborone Area, this facility will be staffed with officers from four local government authorities: Gaborone City Council, Kgatleng District Council, Mogoditshane Sub-district Council (part of Kweneng District Council) and Tlokweng Sub-district Council (part of the South East District Council). Officers manning the centre will be drawn from the departments of information technology, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and roads engineering.
The building for this operation is within the premises of the GCC Fire Department adjacent the Gaborone bus terminal. As part of the project, traffic control and surveillance systems have been installed at monitoring sites (mostly major intersections) in the city. These sites will continuously monitor the state of the city’s core routes and digitally feed that information to the command centre. Officers manning the centre will analyse this information and feed it back to roadside surveillance systems. Such feedback could be in the form of adjusting on-street traffic signals timing in real time in line with traffic conditions in order to alleviate traffic congestion as well as to ensure smooth traffic flow and adequate public relief measures. The latter means that everything being equal, police officers would no longer control traffic at traffic-lights intersections during peak hours.
The project also includes fast lanes (or “bus-dedicated lanes) for public transport for a few roads: the road to Molepolole, the stretch of road from the Phase 2 intersection to Game City as well as one from the old BURS head office to Tsolamosese. Fast lanes, which are reserved for the exclusive use of buses, are a common feature of public road infrastructure in First World countries. Ordinarily, emergency vehicles also use fast lanes because of the nature of the service they provide.
These projects fall under the ambit of the broader Botswana Integrated Transport Projects which will be implemented in phases and is being co-funded by the Government of Botswana, World Bank and the OPEC Fund for International Development.