Digital Weather Innovations
Hello Road Managers Participating in PIARC 2018!
I am participating in PIARC 2018, the 15th International Winter Road Congress, this week in Gdansk. That's why I wanted to share something important with you about winter maintenance from the perspective of a global road weather provider.
As the team leader of our winter maintenance customer segment, it should come naturally to introduce how Foreca could help the road managers to ensure road safety in winter time. But when I started to write, it seemed so hard because there are so many challenges for the contractors actually doing the job and I did not know where to start.
I have had the pleasure to cooperate with several customers in exciting winter maintenance projects all around the world and it is somehow magical too see how a good decision support solution can make such a difference. I mean, we are talking about snow and ice, how hard can it be? Well, everyone struggling with surface temperatures around zero degrees, cloudiness that suddenly breaks or lake-effect blizzards knows what I am talking about.
Weather Provider's Perspective on Winter Maintenance
Foreca has over 20 years of experience in weather services for winter maintenance. That includes working together with road administrations, contractors, municipalities and airports. From our perspective, the winter maintenance is all about providing the weather forecasts in order to inform road managers to execute ploughing, salting or sanding. However, instead of providing general weather forecasts, there is often a lot of road-based forecasting specialities implemented and also customer-specific work behind the services we provide.
Furthermore, it's not only about the atmospherics. For winter maintenance the road surface temperature is very essential and it is of great importance that the parameter can be forecasted with precision. For this purpose Foreca is using a separate model where all-important input is used to calculate the road temperature. Cloudiness, solar radiation, radiative cooling, wind to name a few. Foreca Road Weather Model also considers the surroundings, like trees, mountains and buildings, that may block the solar view or affect the road state in other ways.
In addition, it is not that simple to achieve the forecast accuracy we deliver. Foreca is continuously using data from satellite, radars, and weather stations processed with multiple weather models. The advanced weather models are not only using the different types of observations such as satellite and radar, they are also using statistics in order to customize the forecast to all different locations.
The Best Services are Tailored According to Local Requirements
The weather service should be developed against the maintenance requirements in your country and maintenance area - and also based on your specific role in the maintenance work. Actually, all of our greatest services have been developed together with the detailed specification of a customer's needs. Learning from our customer projects from Scandinavia, Baltics and Russia all the way to New Zealand, there is always some country-specific road classes, maintenance requirements, plowing routes, road structures, organizational hierarchies and roles. After careful tailoring, the service can be made dead-easy to use and to keep track of the needed maintenance actions based on the changing weather conditions in everybody's personal maintenance area.
Nowadays, mainly every service we develop is tailored according to customer needs. There are different thresholds for different roads, different chemicals are used in different countries or regions and chemicals are not allowed everywhere. Plowing route optimization and residual salt are the hot topics right now. We will get back with interesting case stories later on.
To start with the case stories, read the material telling how Foreca developed a winter maintenance decision support system according to a customer's needs.
See You at PIARC 2018!
I would be more than happy to learn about the variety of requirements and needs specific in your maintenance area. So please, don't hesitate to contact me by email or via LinkedIn to introduce yourself! Let's set an appointment and share our latest experiences at PIARC 2018.
Country Manager, Sweden
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