Government Halts Rollout of “Smart” Traffic Control

The Lauchenoirian government announced today that they would be ending their support for a pilot scheme testing internet-connected traffic lights and traffic control systems. The pilot, which took place in Buttercity, added internet connectivity and smart learning to the traffic control system in order to allow traffic patterns to be analysed and lead to more efficient road use. However, the end of government support for the scheme indicates that the smart systems will not be installed in other cities.

The current traffic control in the majority of Lauchenoirian cities is based on old systems from the 1970s, and has not been substantially updated in decades. While many repairs and minor upgrades have taken place, there has not been a full overhaul of the system since 1979. The planned rollout of “smart” systems, which rested on the success of the Buttercity pilot, would have “greatly improved and updated the old systems and produced better-organised roads” according to the Left Alliance, an opposition party.

Analysis by Benjamin Richarte, technology reporter for the Lauchenoirian Guardian.

In November 2019, a fault in the system led to a large gridlock across the city, reducing support for the scheme. The fault, which was initially reported as being a result of “ageing equipment” that remained in the system alongside the newer technology, was later rumoured to have been a cyberattack carried out by forces aligned with Xiomera’s then-Empress Yauhmi, who later became the founder of the new state of Huenya, and a pro-democracy reformer.

It is widely believed that the ending of government support for the pilot is due to security concerns in light of the rumours of attack in 2019, and the potential for further attacks if internet connectivity is increased across critical infrastructure systems. With support for the pilot ended, it is likely that the current older traffic systems in Lauchenoiria’s smaller cities will remain in place to reduce the possibility of remote attack by hostile forces, and make any such endeavours far more difficult.

While the pilot scheme for the use of smart technology has ended, and will not be rolled out, it is expected that the government will nonetheless provide funding for a less-substantial upgrade of the systems, which are becoming harder to repair as old technologies used in the base systems are discontinued with the privatisation of old state-owned industry from the communist era. Many will be disappointed in this decision, however it is projected to save approximately 7.3 million pesos for taxpayers.

A spokesperson for the government commented on the decision, stating: “the traffic control pilot scheme in Buttercity did not deliver the expected upgrades, with a number of faults and incidents continuing to take place in spite of assurances by the providers that the system would be secure. For this reason, we have decided that the new system is not worth the projected costs, and that the providing company cannot guarantee the safety and security of critical infrastructure if we go ahead with this rollout”.

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