Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 10:45 AM
Potential Benefits and Pitfalls Associated with Surface Transportation and Technology
Room 348/349 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Improved technology certainly promises potential benefits in regards to surface transportation, but it also poses some potential pitfalls. This paper will provide an overview of the pros and cons associated with new technical advances in observing and communicating weather data from and to users involved with these systems. For example, some of the potential gains are quite obvious from increased Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) sites, new mobile platforms, and improved radar capabilities among many others. These increased data improve knowledge of the current atmospheric environment because of the better time and space resolutions, which they can offer. In turn, these data can provide more timely and complete information for maintenance of the surface transportation infrastructure, to the users of the system, and also to mesoscale modelers for improving high resolution forecasts. On the downside, users of these data need to consider errors from lack of calibration on some of the observation platforms, especially mobile ones. Data can be skewed by poor sensor location, sensor deterioration, or simply poor sensor response and performance. This will require adequate quality control vigilance to flag bad data and keep it from degrading the environmental information to be provided to users. Another possible negative side effect of providing continuously updated and refined data to the motoring public is the potential for distracting drivers. This issue will dictate that dissemination techniques be developed to minimize such distractions.