Could flexible hours help ease Joburg traffic?

By ^NS –
The rehabilitation project on the M1 freeway has entered its final stage with new traffic implications.

While working from home may not be a viable option for some employees and businesses, there are many ways working flexibly could considerably benefit the city.

Traditional responses to tackling traffic congestion such as extending new roads and building new ones are challenged by Johannesburg’s ever growing population. With over 3 000 people migrating to the city every single month, the way in which traffic is managed needs significant change with flexible hours being a feasible option to alleviate traffic congestion during peak hours.

Tom Tom’s last South African Traffic Index (2015), which aims to help businesses manage traffic congestion effectively, reports that congestion levels have increased, with congestion levels on non-highways still remarkably higher, resulting in commuters spending up to 11 days a year sitting in traffic.

Though the M1 freeway is going through an upgrade, Johannesburg Roads Agency stated at a press briefing earlier this year that there is no more space to extend the road after this upgrade. So, there is just no room for car-loving Joburgers.

One of the ways major cities around the world have been using effectively is by implementing flexible hours. Flexi time allows employees to adjust their work schedule from the traditional viable 9-5 working hours.

It helps achieve a “work-life balance” for employees, allowing them to vary their working hours to their individual requirements while ensuring service standards are maintained and core working hours are adhered to.

Employees can adjust their work schedules to accommodate family responsibilities, as well as other domestic arrangements such as paying bills and shopping for the household.

By deferring from standard working hours, we can reduce the amount of cars travelling on the road at the same time. Generally, your working hours must be filled according to what your employer expects, and subject to the necessary work being done, which requires a high level management style, especially with dealing with Millennials.

There will be some traffic implications from the beginning of May on the M1 freeway: two lanes in each direction (northbound) will remain open on the M1; the Ettrick Road on-ramp (southbound) will reopen; and the Oxford Road off-ramp (northbound) will be closed.

JRA Managing Director Sean Phillips said the R127 million M1 rehabilitation project is now 75% complete, with the majority of fill and stabilisation of underground conditions completed on the south-bound section. The estimated date of completion is still December 2017.

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