83rd Annual

Wednesday, 12 February 2003: 3:30 PM
Weather decision support systems for the transportation industry
Martin McKewon, Meteorologix LLC, Minneapolis, MN; and J. Foerster
Poster PDF (179.2 kB)
In the transportation industry, both public and private, safe transport of goods and people in as timely manner as possible is the objective. On the private side, delays to truck or train movement cost money. However, safety must remain a high priority to ensure the protection of personnel, vehicles, and cargo. In the public arena, expectations are high that roadways will be kept clear, and ice and snow will be handled proactively in order to minimize travel delays and allow for safe public transportation.

Valuable decision support tools are available to the transportation industry today, which aid greatly in weather related decisions. Traditional sources of information such as text-based advisories from the National Weather Service are extremely valuable for public safety, however, newer satellite based weather systems can deliver real-time radar, custom forecasts and active alerts directly to a users personal computer. Traditional county-based advisories may not be able to pinpoint adverse weather narrowly enough so we explore more precise methods of determining how to deal with adverse weather.

We discuss and contrast the benefits of managing weather-related transportation risks using a multi-tiered weather decision support system that begins with traditional National Weather Service countywide forecasts and graduates to an Internet delivered GIS solution.

A satellite delivered weather support system can deliver all the necessary weather information quickly and securely to the end user. Users can also integrate surface weather along and National Weather Service watches, warnings and advisories with the radar imagery. The ability to plot real-time weather station data from the users private weather station network is also possible. End users can also receive active notification of changing surface weather or NWS issued bulletins. The level of precision can be taken a step further by incorporating GIS into the decision support system. The GIS can constantly monitor a customer-defined route network for potentially serious weather conditions.

The author fully supports today’s ongoing research and development in the industry with regards to weather decision systems such as MDSS and intend to point out with this paper there are great resources available to the transportation industry today which can help personnel mitigate the effects of weather on their operations.

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