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NZTA signs road-weather contract with MetService

NZ Transport Agency signs road-weather contract with MetService

From 1 May 2017, NZ Transport Agency commences a new five-year road-weather data and data visualisation service with the Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService).

MetService is contracting specialist road-weather vendor, Foreca Ltd to provide high-resolution road-weather forecasts which are based on MetService’s own forecasting services and a host of additional weather and road information.

Foreca Ltd is a private Finnish weather forecasting company. It is the largest business of its kind in the Nordic countries where the impact of weather on road networks can be significant. Foreca has an international reputation for data accuracy and innovation in functionality and data presentation.

MetService has secured data services from Foreca following a comparative performance evaluation conducted during winter/spring 2016, and a live systems trial held in November 2016 during the Desert Road Design Sprint. The Sprint was an innovative multi-disciplinary design programme to create solutions to reduce the number of accidents on the Desert Road where ice was a contributing factor.

The services will provide MetService road-weather forecasters with considerably enhanced, year-round, high-resolution insights into the weather conditions across the New Zealand State Highway road network. The services fuse MetService observations from its network of automated roadside weather stations and expanding mobile measurement platforms with 360° photographs, high-resolution topography, road metadata and road modelling.

In a first for the New Zealand road network, selected mountain passes will be modelled every 30 metres. The Lewis and Porters Passes will be the first to see this level of forecasting with more areas to follow. Forecasts at reduced resolution will be provided for the remainder of the State Highway network and these will be delivered several times per day, every day of the year.

This information will enable more comprehensive guidance from MetService to the Agency and the contractors responsible for road management and maintenance as part of theirregional Network Outcomes Contracts (NOC).

“The new services promise to further enhance the quality of decision-support provided by MetService, and will help improve road safety and the efficient management of the road assets including deployment of de-icing agents and road maintenance crews in the field,” says Malcolme Flattery, Senior Project Manager with the NZ Transport Agency’s Highways & Network Operations Group.

“This is state-of-the-art road-weather information. It reflects technological advances in both the collection and processing of the data. It promises to deliver more accurate and timely forecasting, particularly on New Zealand’s weather-impacted mountain passes and problematic sites with histories of weather disruptions.”

Peter Fisher, Business Development Manager, Key Accounts for MetService says the new services promise to further enhance the quality of decision-support provided by MetService.

“It’s not just about winter weather. The weather in New Zealand can impact the safety of road users at any time of year. We’re excited to deliver this innovative international solution – the first, year-round forecasting service that has been tailored to New Zealand’s unique road-weather conditions.”

Tiina Asula, Director Sales Development Key Accounts, Foreca

“Foreca is pleased to have secured our first major New Zealand road-weather data contract. We look forward to partnering with MetService to help inform data-based forecasting solutions for NZ Transport Agency and the New Zealand transport sector.

“The service will employ a number of cutting edge technologies, such as fusing mobile measurement data and sophisticated image analysis to automatically interpret road-side features that affect the thermal properties of the pavement surface.

“Over the term of the contract Foreca foresees significant technological advances in data acquisition and information transfer that will ultimately benefit all road-users and those managing the road network.”


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