The Weather Company, an IBM business, is expanding its reach into the surface transportation industry, applying its expertise from the aviation and energy markets to launch a service that is designed to provide insight for agencies, and help optimize productivity and route selection for freight and logistics companies.
The transportation industry is starting to embrace the real-time weather data that many other sectors have been using for years. Traditionally, transportation agencies and freight companies have relied upon historical weather information and data from public forecasting agencies, which are neither very precise or up-to-date, when compared to the massive amounts of computing power that we have at our disposal, using the latest Watson & Quantum developments.
As a result, weather is still significantly impacting transport operations, with weather-related delays estimated to cost the freight industry alone approximately US$8.7bn a year. To help address these inefficiencies, The Weather Company has now introduced its new Operations Dashboard for Ground Transportation, a system that is designed to help optimize productivity and route selection for logistics companies.
The Weather Company provides highly accurate forecasts for 2.2 billion locations around the world every day, updated every 15 minutes. Through its Weather Underground crowdsourced network that relies upon 200,000 personal weather sensors, the company can provide real-time weather information along almost any road, anywhere. These hyper-local forecasts are now becoming available to Departments of Transportation (DOTs), trucking companies and other transport management organizations, giving them a clearer idea as to how the weather will impact their routes.
The comprehensive, customizable dashboard includes key information on weather and road condition information, such as precipitation, wind, fog, ice and pooling water. The dashboard also integrates real-time traffic flow and incident data, and flags safety hazards. Haulage companies will now be able to adjust their travel to save time, fuel, and better protect their cargo. DOTs will also have a better idea as to whether they need to close roads earlier as potential storms approach. With weather updates as frequently every five minutes and down to a 1,640ft (500m) resolution, it can change the real-time decision making that is done on a daily basis in the transportation industry.
“By providing agencies and logistics companies with a single view of critical weather and traffic information, we are providing them with the ability to make proactive decisions that can reduce inefficiencies and potentially keep drivers out of harm’s way,” said Mark Gildersleeve, head of business solutions at The Weather Company. “Weather can be disruptive, but with the right insight companies can be prepared to make proactive decisions.”