Highways Agency drives £8m services deal with Computacenter


Highways Agency drives £8m services deal with Computacenter

Antony Savvas

Highways Agency has signed an £8m deal with Computacenter to provide the command, control and communications services that support the country’s new traffic officers.

Under the five-year managed service contract, Computacenter will deliver a range of IT services in partnership with information and communications technology specialist Vivista, to support the IT infrastructure at the agency’s new regional control centres.

The seven centres are a core part of a new Highways Agency service for England’s motorways, which is expected to reduce congestion by 5% in the next five years.

Ian Chalmers, Highway’s Agency technology team leader for the regional control centres, said, "Staff at the centres will be responsible for a number of services that will help to manage incidents and keep traffic moving on the country’s 4,800 miles of motorway.

"As a result the systems they use need to be continuously available and highly resilient."

More than 300 control centre staff will eventually use the system, which will enable them to dispatch traffic officers to incidents.

The command and control centre infrastructure is based on a clustered Sun Microsystems and HP server back-end, which was configured by Computacenter to ensure maximum resilience.

HP desktops are also being used by the control centre staff, along with bespoke command and communications solutions from Vivista. The 1,000 traffic officers will be equipped with Sepura Airwave radio terminals.

All these technologies will be supported under the managed service, which will go live in spring 2005, along with the first regional control centre in the West Midlands.

"By partnering with experienced IT service providers, we are able to reduce the risks and costs associated with managing the new system," said Chalmers.

The Highways Agency developed the centres in response to legislation passed last year, which gives the organisation and its newly created traffic officers responsibility for managing traffic on England’s motorways.

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