Gap-filling stations and their role within a Road Weather Information System
Adverse weather conditions affect the safety and capacity of a nation’s roadways, affecting driving behaviour, vehicle performance, surface conditions and the roadway infrastructure. Wherever you are in the world, the weather can impact your road network in many ways, at any time of the year. Snow and ice, flooding, fog and high winds are some of the common weather related hazards to affect commuters. In countries which experience cold winter climates, snow and ice is the biggest hazard affecting motorists, and to ensure optimum mobility and safety during the winter months, transport authorities depend on reliable and accurate weather information provided by Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS).
Recent advancements in sensor and communications technology have the opportunity to change the way road weather station networks are planned and managed. The need for traditional road weather outstations, which can typically cost in excess of $25,000 USD, is being challenged by a new concept of gap-filling stations that are designed to provide a better balance of spatial and temporal resolution at much lower cost than a traditional road outstation. Gap-filling stations are intended to provide decision makers and forecasters with a higher-resolution view of the temperature differences across a transportation network using many ground truth measurements instead of reliance on thermal interpolation between sparsely located road outstations, which is subject to a number of errors that are well documented. This gap-filling concept provides opportunities for route-based forecast validation at a scale previously not possible, and presents opportunities for costs savings through the implementation of dynamic routing and selective salting practices. These and other benefits of gap-filling stations are discussed.
Presentation given at InterMET Asia 27 March 2019
Transport Operations session chaired by Dr. David Rogers, Consultant, World Bank
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