The technologies you’ll have noticed include emergency telephones, the red-ringed mph speed limit signs that help prevent jams and keep traffic flowing, and journey time estimates for how long it takes to reach the next junction. Even those dreaded words ‘queue after junction’ improve traffic flows. Increased information is all part and parcel of the modern driving experience on England’s road network.
As Highways England rolls out its smart motorways programme by opening up hard shoulders to traffic to enable all lanes to be used in order to cut congestion, the roadside technology and signs are even more important.
Have you thought about what allows these ever advancing communications and digital information systems to work? The answer is the National Roads Telecommunications Service (NRTS) - a fibre optic network of communication and control that Highways England uses to monitor and run the 4,300 miles of English roads under its control.
Connecting the roads with control centres
NRTS was established in 2005 to provide the vital telecommunication interconnectivity between the Regional Control Centres, the National Traffic Operations Centre and the 30,000 roadside assets which enable Highways England to operate, maintain and develop the strategic road network. For the past 12 years the contract services were provided by the GeneSYS consortia and today are delivered by telent following a recent competitive tender.
Since appointment in 2009 we have supported Highways England through the provision of specialist technical assurance to ensure that the operation, maintenance and development of the NRTS service is safe, fit for purpose and achieving value for money.
In collaboration with our client and NRTS contractor, we are working to ensure the network remains resilient and scalable to support emerging technologies.