Computacenter drives off with £8m Highways deal

Making UK motorways less congested...
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor on

Making UK motorways less congested...

Computacenter has won an £8m deal to provide a 'command and control' communications system to support the Highways Agency's regional control centres.

Following legislation last year, the Highways Agency created seven regional centres to replace 30 that were previously managed by the police. The aim is to give Highways Agency officers the power to stop and direct traffic in order to reduce congestion and free up police resources.

The centres, which will be jointly staffed by the police, are responsible for the electronic signs and signals on the UK's motorways, answering the emergency roadside telephones, monitoring CCTV cameras and supporting 1,000 mobile traffic officers.

As part of the five-year deal Computacenter and its partner Vivista will provide the command and control infrastructure based on a clustered Sun Microsystems and HP server backend, with HP desktops and mobile Airwave radios for traffic officers.

Ian Chalmers, technology team leader for the Highways Agency's regional control centres, said the fact this was a new set-up for the agency was the main reason for transferring some of the risk by going down the managed services route.

"We did not have that expertise in house," he said.

Over 300 staff will use the control centres, which are on target to be up and running from spring this year.

Earlier this year the Highways Agency appointed Denise Plumpton as its first ever road information tsar. She is in charge of using technology and information to help drivers avoid congested areas.

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