Road-weather advisories provide decision support for New Zealand Transport Operations Centres

The New Zealand Government and NZ Transport Agency is committed reducing the number of people injured and killed in crashes and making New Zealand roads safer for users.

The Agency believes that innovations in science, technology and communications are providing new opportunities to improve road safety. It works closely with MetService on innovations that promise to help reduce the impacts of weather-related events.

One recent innovation from MetService has been a decision support service for the Transport Operations Centres (TOCs) in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. TOC staff, as well as key Agency staff and road network contractors, are now receiving Severe Road-Weather Advisories prepared by MetService meteorologists, warning of weather events that could impact road safety, traffic flows and mobility. The Advisories include warnings of high wind events, heavy rain, floods and slips, tidal inundation, reduced visibility and the likelihood of freezing conditions and ice formation. The advisories enable TOC staff and other teams to proactively make informed decisions about their assets and the safe operation of the State Highway network.

MetService Business Development Manager Peter Fisher had long been sending through weather information to contacts at the Agency and its contractors.

In August 2016 he worked with MetService Communications Meteorologist Lisa Murray to produce a proof-of-concept trial of a new-look service based on the kinds of information he knew was most valued by recipients. Positive feedback about the value of these road weather briefings led to a growing subscriber base and an increasing awareness of the value of this service within the Agency and the road network contractors.

In December 2016 Transport Agency Senior Project Manager Malcolme Flattery asked MetService to implement the Severe Weather Road Advisory service as an integral part of the Agency’s road-weather contract with MetService.

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