The road ahead

WINNIPEG, Man. – Truckers have a new tool at their disposal to see weather and resulting road conditions thanks to Winnipeg-based company Weatherlogics.

Launched by a meteorologist and scientist with a passion for weather, the company has introduced Road Weatherlogics, an app designed specifically for the transportation industry.

The company released the platform last year, available only for office use, and has now gone mobile with an app geared for drivers on their hand-held devices.

Scott Kehler, co-founder and chief scientist for Weatherlogics, said the app is the only of its kind that provides drivers and dispatchers with forecasted road conditions.

“This is of significant benefit to the transportation industry because it allows drivers and dispatchers to look at future weather conditions,” said Kehler. “Currently, road condition websites only show the road conditions right now, or in the recent past. With Road Weatherlogics, you can look at predicted road conditions across North America every hour for the next 48 hours.”

To predict future road conditions, Road Weatherlogics uses artificial intelligence to determine the impact weather conditions will have on the road surface. Looking at weather information for any particular area, the app combines this information with a road weather model to predict the effect of participation.

“We do this by predicting the temperature of the road itself,” Kehler explained. “By doing this, we can determine if snow will accumulate on the road, or melt. We can also determine whether freezing rain will occur and how much might actually accumulate on the road.”

Kehler said the app will help improve safety for those in the trucking industry, and all motorists, by providing advance warning of adverse weather and road conditions.

He also said it would help carriers comply with regulations.

“Many transportation companies operate LCVs, which have strict regulations that prevent them from operating under high winds and adverse road conditions,” Kehler said. “With Road Weatherlogics, companies are using predicted road and wind conditions to plan their LCVs in a more efficient manner.”

Route optimization is another area Kehler believes the industry would benefit from using the app.

“In many cases, there is more than one route a driver can take for a given trip,” he said. “In some cases, one route may be slightly longer than another, but the weather conditions may be better. Sometimes choosing a slightly longer route that has better weather conditions may end up actually saving time and money.”

Kehler said it is estimated weather costs the transportation industry more than $8.6 billion each year. Prior to the release of the Road Weatherlogics app, there were no options for those looking to see forecasted road conditions, he added.

“Given the massive impact of weather on transportation, it made sense to provide a service that is tailored specifically to this industry,” he said. “This allows companies to plan for the impacts of weather on their operations, and improve driver safety.”

Features of Road Weatherlogics for truck drivers and dispatchers:

• Hourly highway conditions for the next two days at one hour intervals.
• Predicted accumulations of rain, snow and ice over a 48-hr period.
• Wind speed forecasts at one hour intervals.
• Areas where the weather may cause future highway closures.
• Future potential for blowing snow or blizzard conditions.
• Webcams showing current highway conditions.
• Direct consulting line to professional meteorologists.
• Current weather radar images.
• Current government-reported highway conditions and closures.

A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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