The Joburg Roads Agency has identified a number of issues that cause the signals to go on the blink.
When it rains in the city, water seepage affects damaged or old lead covered cables and joints. Lightning is also a major cause due to poor earthing which trips controllers and you’ll see the lights flashing red. Power outages are generally the faults with by far the longest repair times as they require the involvement of City Power or Eskom. Loadshedding is also an obvious player.
Vandalism is a major cause of outages with copper cables being a valuable commodity. The JRA estimates that there are at least 23 incidents per month, costing the agency around R250 000 each month. Scrap metal thieves are repeat offenders, often going after the same intersections. But the vandals just move on to different intersections, sawing down robots like trees.
On average about 70 traffic signals are damaged per month through motor vehicles accidents. This means construction teams have to go out and do the repairs, which generally taking longer than repairing faulty components.