Time-carding traffic

Issue 1 2022 Asset Management

Traffic Freeflow is an independent company that owns and manages the 'Pointsmen Project' currently operating in the South African cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Tshwane. Its aim is to alleviate traffic congestion by providing highly trained, dedicated and passionate pointsmen and pointswomen.

Sponsored since inception by OUTsurance and the local city, these people who bring relief to rush hour drivers are known locally as the 'OUTsurance Guys'. Since the introduction of the 'Pointsmen Project' back in 2005, thousands of motorists around South Africa have come to rely on their assistance.

There are two types of pointsmen: static pointsmen, who are assigned to specific high-traffic intersections and mobile pointsmen, who are dispatched on motorcycles to traffic hot spots at a moment's notice and are thus able to respond quickly to major intersections that are experiencing faulty/malfunctioning traffic signals. These men and women are truly passionate about making the motorists’ daily commute as stress-free as possible – they are recognisable by their bright-yellow bibs, wide smiles and friendly demeanour!

Traffic Freeflow is committed to being the most professional service provider for relief of traffic congestion in South Africa; and contributes towards road safety as well as creating job opportunities in underprivileged communities.

Challenges faced

Gauteng province (Johannesburg and Tshwane) has one of the country's highest traffic densities and consequently one of the highest road fatality rates. Construction, power outages and accidents have led to massive traffic congestion across the major cities. Working hand-in-glove with their Metro Police stakeholders, more than 200 pointsmen are dispatched to troublesome intersections and hotspots.

“Before Econz Timecard was launched, our six project managers would each have to drive to each assigned intersection in order to ensure attendance and that every pointsman was presenting themselves as brand ambassadors for our sponsors. We were unsure as to the time the pointsman started at the intersection and if he/she stayed the full shift, or, indeed, if they were at the correct place. Other issues included the costs of using six scooters per day, fuel costs and e-tags and not the least having our project managers in peak traffic hours twice a day, every day.

“In addition, as the people are paid for the hours they work, we wanted to be sure they were being paid correctly,” says Traffic Freeflow chief operating officer, John Kelley.

The results of using Econz

The Econz Timecard solution provides data such as time arrived and departed, GPS location and a breadcrumb trail, all captured in a web-based system. This enables real-time tracking so project managers can be sure the correct intersections are manned. The data collected integrates into the Traffic Freeflow payroll system to ensure payments for time spent are accurate.

“We needed assurance that the pointsmen were in the right place at the right time and how long they were there, as well as still check time and attendance back at our offices. When traffic lights go out, traffic slows down and backs up. The pointsmen not only play a crucial role in getting traffic flowing, but as they are often at the same intersections during rush hours, motorists tend to become very fond of them and appreciate the good job they are doing. Timecard sits right on their cellphones and allows them to quickly clock in and thus they can be tracked at all times,” says Kelley.

“We have reduced the need for physical checks by our project managers, thus saving time, costs of the running of the scooters and keeping our project managers safely out of the rush hour traffic. Now we have visibility at the enterprise level to know who is where and when they arrive and leave”, Kelley concludes.

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