Toll road management firm Abertis is working with weather measurement specialist Vaisala to study how highway ice formation can be reduced to increase driver safety.
One aspect of the pilot will focus on how Vaisala’s road weather technology can be used to capture meteorological elements that affect driving, which can then be used to influence road maintenance decisions such as optimizing the use of anti-icing treatments.
A combined study team has been collecting and analyzing data for the 2021-2022 winter season to understand how, for example, salt used in the cold months for road maintenance behaves, how long it resides on the surface of the pavement, and what factors affect this.
Antonio Duran, global head of innovation at Abertis, said, “This project is part of Abertis’s Advanced Digital Analytics for Operations program, which is one of the key areas in our innovation plan. The objective is to use the data that we obtain from Vaisala’s solution to build better predictive models to enable us to improve weather operations in our road networks in France, Spain and Italy. We want to enhance safety on our highways as well as optimize the amount of road treatment material that we use to ensure that the action is as sustainable as possible.”
Road weather technology is critical for winter and summer pavement maintenance since effective operations can all be affected by weather conditions. Regardless of the application, accurate data regarding highway conditions, from snow and ice to wind, sandstorms or flooding, empowers road decision making with crucial information. Furthermore, knowing the onset time of such impacts on the road surface in advance enables more effective treatment.
Rachel Adams, head of winter maintenance at Vaisala, said, “We are thrilled to be working with Abertis on this pilot project where we have formed a strong partnership. Our measurement site in the pilot section of Abertis’s network in the North of France is used to determine how long the salt remains once it’s been applied. We are also using data fusion techniques to provide better information about weather conditions across the road network. When it comes to winter highway maintenance, better decisions can save lives and deliver a sustainable approach to operations. Understanding the potential impact of weather on the road network is critical for maintaining transportation safety and mobility.”