I work in Operational Technology for architecture and governance as the Team Leader. That means I’m the technical authority for all operational technology. I deal with everything from roadside devices such as cameras and signals, through to Regional Control Centre systems.
My team includes experts in CCTV, messages, signs and architecture, and a number of other specialist traffic technologies.
I’ve been in the technology arena in various roles including working for network storage companies, and programming within insurance companies. I even once wrote a children’s TV series!
I originally came in to Highways England as a temporary worker but, by making and embracing opportunities, I got a permanent role and have since climbed the ladder. I’ve been here 10 years now, and the opportunities to influence technical direction are bigger than ever.
I’m involved in many different activities every day - from bringing in sweeping changes in how we run our technology systems, to sitting on technical boards overseeing autonomous vehicle research. Recently, I’ve been involved in a project investigating radar based technologies to detect stopped vehicles.
I’m heavily involved in a project called CHARM. That stands for Common Highways Agency and Rijkswaterstaat Model. It’s a collaboration with the Dutch Highways Authority. We’re working together to bring in new systems.
It’s a large and complex project, and I’m providing technical expertise and assurance. We’ll replace the entire operational systems used by Regional Control Centre operators to view cameras, set signs, monitor traffic and manage incidents.
We’re developing the new systems and workflows to operate them, and rolling it out around the country.
I look at everything from the design and development of new systems, through to changes to the CCTV networks, and putting in new technologies to increase the types of roadside devices we can use.
My Highways England
I love that my role encompasses such a wide ranging area. The scope of different technologies used by Highways England is huge and I love the variety. The technical detail I get to see appeals to my inner geek!
I can affect huge change for the better. For example, small improvements in technology available to roadside technology maintenance personnel can deliver huge financial and safety benefits, by reducing the time they spend at the roadside.
I’ve found there are lots of different career paths, even just within Operational Technology. We do a huge range of things on an industrial scale. We run ‘mission critical, must not fail technology’ which is something that is very exciting to get involved with – that’s one reason I really enjoy my job. You can carve out a role for yourself and make a massive change.