Whistleblower claims smart motorway system failure

It’s been claimed that computer systems controlling signs on smart motorways crashed three times in four days, meaning signs across hundreds of miles of motorway could not be changed.

The Sunday Telegraph spoke to a member of staff at National Highways (formerly Highways England) who said the system failed in April and that a Freedom of Information request to National Highways, the Government-owned company, shows two control centres covering Yorkshire, the North East and South West of England were hit by a computer “bug” and server problem disabling digital control of signs for a total of eight hours.

Reporter Steve Bird writes that Dynac, the software used to set signs and signals, including the red X on overhead gantries which closes lanes in which motorists have broken down, was rendered “unusable”, according to documents, and that it had been nicknamed “Die Now” by staff.

However, he adds, it transpires that Dynac, the Austrian-made software programme, is not to blame and the problems were often found in the myriad of high-tech systems running alongside it. One document classified “sensitive” records a manager stating how that April system crash “impacts on customer and traffic officer safety in not being able to set signs and signals to protect live lane incidents”.

“Well-rehearsed” contingency plans were successfully implemented “to ensure the safety of all road users”, a spokesman for National Highways told the paper.

(Picture – Highways News)


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