Roads organisations have condemned today’s safety system outage across the smart motorway network, which lasted for around two hours this morning. The Dynac system used on smart motorways – which includes signs, signals and stopped vehicle detection (SVD) technology – stopped working between 8.30am and 10.30am. The fault occurred across the whole of England’s smart motorway network except in the East and South East. RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes described the outage as “deeply concerning”. “Drivers and our patrols rely on these systems to keep them safe in the event of a breakdown on a live lane,” he said. AA President Edmund King added: “So called ‘smart’ motorways cease to be ‘smart’ when the technology fails and drivers in dangerous live-lane situations are left as sitting ducks. “Road users can only have confidence in the systems if the technology works. That’s clearly not the case with the outage today. Some 38% of breakdowns on ‘smart’ motorways occur in live lanes as often there is nowhere to go and these situations, with or without technology, are terrifying. “While somewhat ironic that the systems should fail on the day their safety is debated in Parliament, perhaps it is now time to go back to the drawing board and totally redesign these roads as drivers have lost faith in their safety.” National Highways operational control director Andrew Page-Dove said: “We are urgently investigating an unplanned outage of our traffic management system that took place this morning. “Engineers worked hard to get the system back online as soon as possible and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. “We have well-rehearsed procedures to deal with issues which arise. We rapidly took steps to help ensure the safety of road users such as increased patrols and CCTV monitoring.”

SVD Technology is Radar-Based Technology That is On Every.

all lane running (ALR) smart motorway where the hard shoulder has been permanently converted to a live traffic lane. It uses radars to detect vehicles stopped on the roads. As part of a series of safety measures, the system was retrofitted to every ALR smart motorway last year, but a report by the Office of Rail and Road in December revealed it was “not working as well as it should”. Overall detection rates are below National Highways’ minimum requirement of 80% and the required average time to detect stopped vehicles in less than 20 seconds is not being met. Four out of five of National Highways’ regions with ALR smart motorways are not meeting this requirement, achieving between 43 and 65 seconds. National Highways chief executive Nick Harris told MPs on the Transport Committee earlier this month that the technology will achieve the performance specifications by the summer. A total of 11 smart motorway schemes have been put on ice as a result of the government’s decision to halt the rollout of the roads until a full five years’ worth of safety data is available.