Telent to upgrade Highways England’s National Roads Telecommunications Service

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Highways England (HE) has awarded a seven-year £450m (US$602m) contract to Telent Technology Services for the next generation road communications network that will help reduce congestion, make journeys more reliable, and help drivers who get into difficulty.

From March 2018, Telent will be responsible for the operation and management of the National Roads Telecommunications Service (NRTS), a critical component of national infrastructure supporting the country’s 4,400-mile (7,100km) strategic road network (SRN).

The NRTS connects HE’s seven regional control centers, the national traffic operations center, and the 30,000 roadside technology assets. Currently this comprises: approximately 6,000 miles (9,660km) of fiber and copper networks, 145 transmission stations, almost 5,000 roadside cabinets, 3,327 CCTV cameras, 3,774 variable message signs (VMS), 229 weather stations, and 7,155 emergency roadside phones.

The network enables traffic data services to provide accurate, real-time information to drivers and travel news providers, while also helping to warn road users of potential hazards and display real-time journey information.

HE’s requirements for the new contract included effective service continuity and the ability to undertake a transformation program without impacting on the service, while also reducing roadside maintenance activity. The upgraded program will improve reliability, increase remote services, and support the introduction of new services, such as wireless and IP CCTV.

The new service will renew equipment and deliver a service that will provide an open, flexible and scalable telecommunications network to meet the future needs of the SRN, and will also enable and support the agency in the development of innovative services such as ‘connected vehicles’ and 5G.

From spring 2018, Telent, together with its technology partners, will collaborate with HE to transform the NRTS network and roll-out innovative, world-class, carrier grade network technology, which will support the development and operation of the smart motorway and expressway programs that are central to the modernization of England’s transport infrastructure.

“We are pleased to announce the award of the second NRTS contract to Telent. With their proactive approach to innovation and collaboration, they will help us deliver a service that will provide improvements in safety, customer service and delivery, as well as enable us to support emerging technologies,” said HE’s chief information officer, Tony Malone. “Safety is at the heart of everything we do and this network, the central nervous system for England’s motorways, enables us to operate safe roads.”

Telent CEO Mark Plato commented, “We are uniquely positioned to support HE, who we have had a relationship with for over 20 years. We are excited to begin transforming the NRTS and provide a world class, superfast network to support their plans for upgrading the SRN.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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