Winter Maintenance Decision Support System

Winter Maintenance Decision Support System

Foreca's Decision Support System helps road authorities, contractors and municipalities make roads safer with proactive working methods and precautionary winter maintenance actions. The service is also suitable for airport maintenance. 

Winter maintenance is a balancing act between over- and under-maintenance. Foreca's computer-aided winter maintenance recommendation service assists your weather monitoring process, helping you work more proactively. With proactive working methods, you are able to maintain road safety with less hassle, fewer chemicals and lower costs.

The service has been developed with Foreca's over 20 years of experience in road weather and in cooperation with winter maintenance experts in Skandinavia.

1-2-3: A New Standardised Maintenance Method

With Foreca's decision support system, all road managers are able to follow the standardised 1-2-3 decision-making method described below. Foreca's unique, computer-aided winter maintenance recommendations assist the weather monitoring and decision-making process. With the help of recommendations and comprehensive weather monitoring tools, road managers' decision-making methods can be unified, thus ensuring the standard quality of work even in complex situations. 

Winter Maintenance Recommendations

1.

Pre-Recommendation

The preliminary recommendations give you advice on the needed maintenance actions based on the prevalent weather forecast. Preliminary recommendations are given up to one day in advance to give road managers extra time to prepare for the coming maintenance actions. The notification text includes the starting and ending times of the hazardous road conditions with the recommendation of the adequate maintenance action. The recommended amount of chemicals is also given, if necessary.

This information is the baseline for a road manager's further actions, giving discipline to work in a standardised way. The standardised working method brings the road manager's quality of performance closer to each other, regardless of the experience they have in meteorology. With the help of the notifications, the road manager on duty always has backup information of the coming changes in road conditions, reducing the risk of human error.

Winter Maintenance Weather Monitoring

2.

Weather Monitoring

There are no forecasts you, as a responsible road manager, could blindly rely on for too many hours in advance. Therefore, Foreca provides you with comprehensive weather monitoring tools that make your day more comfortable.

After getting notified by the preliminary recommendation, you can start monitoring how the forecast and observations come along as the zero hour comes closer. Sometimes, the road conditions might change a couple of hours earlier or later than was predicted the day before. That is why you can't rely only on the automatic recommendations, but need to follow-up on the weather once something interesting is happening.

The weather monitoring tools have been developed to cover all needs. Observations and forecasts are provided from the official sources, like road weather stations, radars, satellites and atmospheric forecast models. Also, possible mobile measurements from vehicles are supported.

Winter Maintenance Alerts

3.

Maintenance Alert

Maintenance alerts are given up to 2 hours in advance, as a last call to make the final decision for maintenance actions. The alerts are based on Foreca nowcasting technology, which is not only based on the forecast, but also the trend of the latest measurements from the radars, 2nd generation satellites and road weather stations, giving more accurate information of the upcoming road conditions.

In addition to maintenance alerts provided a couple of hours in advance, you will also get additional alerts based on observations from road weather stations. You can see observation-based alerts as a double-check functionality, to make sure you are always well-aware of the hazardous conditions in your maintenance area, e.g. in case of sudden freezing rain or some other noteworthy unpredictable phenomena.

Maintenance alerts can be delivered by email or SMS to better support those already operating in the field.

Main Functionalities

Winter Maintenance Recommendations

There are three types of recommendations based on the timing and accuracy:

  1. Preliminary recommendations based on forecasts
  2. Maintenance alerts based on Foreca Nowcasting forecasts
  3. Maintenance alerts based on road weather station observations

All the recommendations and alerts are available in the log view of the cloud service. In addition, alerts can be received as email and SMS notifications as well. 

Recommendations are given by the points of the road weather stations in your maintenance area. Recommendations include all the winter maintenance methods like ploughing, gritting and deicing with all needed information.

Recommendations can be separated between main roads and side roads when different maintenance policies are applied. For instance, roads where chemicals are not allowed, gritting is recommended instead of salting. The maintenance area and the alert threshold values can be adjusted based on the policy applied in your maintenance area.

Examples of winter maintenance recommendation

An example of recommendations view on a mobile device. 

Multilayer Weather maps

Multilayer road weather maps help you follow the weather forecasts and current conditions in the maintenance area. With the possibility to view two different road weather parameters together on the same map, you can get comprehensive information about road conditions.

Some weather parameters in map areas are visualised in colours, where the others are visualised with values or symbols. The parameters can be viewed seamlessly as a continuous timeline, starting from near hour observations and ending with the forecasts.

There are up to 16 basic weather maps and 12 extra overlays standard in the service. You are free to choose all the needed maps for your service. Please feel free to ask for any additional options, we are always more than happy to develop the service together with your needs and expertise.

Weather maps for winter road maintenance

An example of a map view where the radar images of precipitation type and intensity are expressed together with road temperature values.

Meteograms and Tables

Meteograms and tables are based on the points of road weather stations. Both views contain the information of observations and forecasts in the same timeline. All the relevant road weather parameters are available, e.g.:

  • Road condition (dry, wet, icy...)
  • Air temperature
  • Road temperature
  • Dewpoint
  • Rain
  • Rain /12h
  • Snowfall
  • Snowfall /12h
  • Humidity
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Cloudiness
Road weather station meteogram Road weather station table

 

Benefits

 Unified winter maintenance working methods

Unified Working Methods

The mobile-friendly cloud service enables easy access to the same information wherever you are, in the office or on the road. Computer-aided weather forecast-based recommendations are the key to getting organised and having a standardised decision-making method for the personnel. That is especially helpful for all the new employees in getting closer to the same level as the more experienced supervisors, thus making training new personnel easier.

Optimal winter maintenance actions

Optimal Decisions

Having more time and the best possible information when making winter maintenance decisions allows you to make optimal winter maintenance actions. With the ability to reduce over-maintenance, i.e. rarely playing safe, there is room for massive cost savings. In addition, with the help of accurate forecasts and comprehensive weather monitoring tools, you are able to execute precautionary maintenance actions (anti-icing) more often, which requires four times fewer chemicals than reacting afterwards (de-icing). Optimal decisions will save both nature and your money. 

Quality assurance in winter maintenance

Quality Assurance

Your main goal is to keep the roads safe. With the Foreca decision support system, you can standardize all the employees' decision-making methods, regardless of the diverse level of expertise, reducing the risk of human error in difficult situations. With standardised methods, your winter maintenance service-level quality can be guaranteed.

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Tel. +358 20 1101 70

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