High-tech weather re­ports for high­ways

New Zealand Truck & Driver - - Contents -

MAN­AGE­MENT OF NEW ZEALAND’S STATE HIGH­WAY network in bad weather is get­ting “state-of-the-art” help in a new road­weather fore­cast­ing ser­vice.

It is, says the MetSer­vice’s Peter Fisher, an “in­no­va­tive in­ter­na­tional so­lu­tion – the rst, year-round fore­cast­ing ser­vice that’s been tai­lored to NZ’s unique road-weather con­di­tions.”

e ser­vice will see Fin­nish weather fore­cast­ing com­pany Foreca process data taken from MetSer­vice’s fore­casts, its network of au­to­mated road­side weather sta­tions and mo­bile mea­sure­ment plat­forms – in­clud­ing 360-de­gree pho­to­graphs – along with high-res­o­lu­tion to­pog­ra­phy, road meta­data and road mod­el­ling.

In a rst for the NZ road network, se­lected moun­tain passes will be mod­elled ev­ery 30 me­tres. e Lewis Pass and Porters Pass will be the rst to see this level of fore­cast­ing, with more ar­eas to follow.

Fore­casts at re­duced res­o­lu­tion will be pro­vided for the re­main­der of the SH network, de­liv­ered sev­eral times per day, ev­ery day.

e high-res­o­lu­tion road-weather fore­casts come cour­tesy of a ve-year deal that the NZ Trans­port Agency has en­tered into with MetSer­vice, start­ing this month.

NZTA says that the ser­vices will pro­vide “con­sid­er­ably en­hanced, year-round, high-res­o­lu­tion in­sights into the weather con­di­tions across the NZ State High­way road network.

e con­stant in­depth fore­cast­ing is im­por­tant, says Fisher, the MetSer­vice’s busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ager, key ac­counts: “It’s not just about win­ter weather. e weather in NZ can im­pact the safety of road users at any time of year.”

e ser­vice prom­ises to “de­liver more ac­cu­rate and timely fore­cast­ing, par­tic­u­larly on NZ’s weather-im­pacted moun­tain passes and prob­lem­atic sites with his­to­ries of weather dis­rup­tions,” says the NZTA’s Mal­colme Flat­tery.

e en­hanced in­for­ma­tion will en­able more com­pre­hen­sive guid­ance from MetSer­vice to NZTA and the con­trac­tors re­spon­si­ble for road man­age­ment and main­te­nance.

“ e new ser­vices prom­ise to fur­ther en­hance the qual­ity of de­ci­sion­sup­port pro­vided by MetSer­vice, and will help im­prove road safety and the e cient man­age­ment of the road as­sets in­clud­ing de­ploy­ment of de-ic­ing agents and road main­te­nance crews in the eld,” says Flat­tery, who is a se­nior pro­ject man­ager with NZTA’s High­ways & Network Op­er­a­tions Group.

“ is is state-of-the-art road-weather in­for­ma­tion. It re ects tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances in both the col­lec­tion and pro­cess­ing of the data.”

Foreca has an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for data ac­cu­racy and in­no­va­tion in functionality and data pre­sen­ta­tion. It was con­tracted by MetSer­vice af­ter a com­par­a­tive per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion last win­ter/ spring, and a live sys­tems trial held last Novem­ber on the Desert Road.

Foreca’s Ti­ina Asula says that the ser­vice will em­ploy “a num­ber of cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies, such as fus­ing mo­bile mea­sure­ment data and so­phis­ti­cated im­age anal­y­sis to au­to­mat­i­cally in­ter­pret road­side fea­tures that a ect the ther­mal prop­er­ties of the pave­ment sur­face.”


Photo Be­van Per­ci­val, NZTA

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