MetraWeather's parent company MetService will be exhibiting at the 2016 NZ Transport Agency/NZIHT 17th Annual Conference in Dunedin in late October.
Weather impacts road safety, mobility, productivity and profitability. The average social cost of a single fatal road crash in New Zealand is $4.54 million (The Social Cost of Road Crashes and Injuries Report, Ministry of Transport). The average social cost of a crash involving serious injuries is $473,600. Traffic congestion is often related to crashes caused by weather events and in Auckland City the subsequent productivity losses are calculated in millions of dollars. Overseas, the US Federal Highway Administration says 24% of US road crashes are weather-related, and the majority of weather-related crashes happen on wet pavement and during rainfall.
This year MetService has launched a number of road weather innovations for the NZ Transport Agency and road contractors. These innovations are focused on expanding the New Zealand-wide network of weather observation assets, to provide greater insights and data about weather conditions; help improve road safety; and mitigate the impacts of weather-related transport disruptions. The company most recently exhibited at the 2016 ITS World Congress in Melbourne alongside New Zealand's Ministry of Transport and Transport Agency.
Leith Saddle Automated Weather Station
At the beginning of the 2016 winter snow season, MetService installed a solar-powered webcam and Automated Weather Station (AWS) on the Leith Saddle to provide decision support to the NZ Transport Agency and contractor Downer Group. The Saddle is a vital link in the Dunedin Northern Motorway.
State Highway 29 weather-activated variable speed limit trial
NZ Transport Agency and MetService have collaborated on a two-year, weather-activated variable speed limit trial featuring linked automated weather stations, webcams and 22 illuminated road signs on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range. The highway is known for its high-volume of commercial transport, steep landscape, unpredictable weather and a high crash rate. More than 70 percent of accidents on the Range happen in wet weather and 40 percent are caused by drivers travelling too fast for the conditions. The trial aims to get road users driving at safer speeds relative to the road conditions.
Mobile data acquisition trial
MetService and the NZ Transport Agency have commenced a mobile data acquisition trial with roading contractors Fulton Hogan and Downer Group. The trial expands weather observation assets by deploying vehicle-mounted sensors to precisely monitor road weather conditions. Host vehicles will transmit real-time data providing road and air temperature, rain, snow, slush, water film height, ice content, humidity and dew point temperature information.
The data collected will enhance road weather modelling systems and will ultimately be available to fleet operators, commercial operators and the travelling public. It will enable MetService to advise roading contractors how to optimise their application of the CMA de-icing agent, and where crews and equipment should be deployed in advance of approaching weather systems.
MetService at the 2016 NZ Transport Agency/NZIHT 17th Annual Conference
MetService's 2016 Conference Competition asks delegates to forecast the road surface temperature at noon on Tuesday 1st November at the Lindis Pass Automated Weather Station. This weather station, part of the extensive New Zealand road weather network, uses satellite communications to deliver data at regular intervals including wind speed and direction, road and air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, solar radiation, and environmental parameters via a sensor embedded in the road surface. Winners will receive a world-famous Blunt umbrella, or a WeatherFlow WINDmeter for their smartphone.
Winter is not the only season that impacts road weather. MetService Business Development Manager, Peter Fisher, will be available to delegates throughout the Conference. He will be talking about how in warmer months, the build-up of contaminants can cause road surfaces to become treacherous with a dew or a light rainfall, and how high temperatures can cause ‘bleeding’ and the breakdown of the road surface as well as delamination of retread tyres. High winds can make driving hazardous for cyclists and high-sided vehicles such as trailers and campervans. It can also bring down power supplies and trees. And lightning strikes can be the cause of summer forest fires and cause serious damage to transport infrastructure, and energy and communications networks.