Evaluation of the Road Weather Information Service in Winter 1997-1998

Magnus Nygård, Pirkko Rämä

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Abstract

The Road Weather Information Service is a new Traffic Information Service in Finland. The service has been developed jointly by the Finnish National Road Administration, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Central Organisation for Traffic Safety in Finland, the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre, and the Finnish Broadcasting Company. The Road Weather Information Service sets three levels for conditions on roads: normal, poor, and hazardous. The information is based on road conditions and weather. The aim of the evaluation study was to asses how successful the service has been and how well its various objectives have been met. The study evaluated how familiar road users are with the Road Weather Information Service, how accurate the given information is, and what experts feel about the service. Information was gathered from interviews with road users, road weather log sheets provided by road weather centres, data on traffic accidents, and interviews with experts.The Road Weather Information Service was well known: 87% (n = 1005) of the road users said during the telephone interview that they recognised the service when this was described for them. The contents of the service were also quite well known: 54% of road users who recognised the service without being helped knew that it provides information on poor/hazardous road conditions. The road users estimated that the effect of the Road Weather service on their own behaviour was notable. For example, 63% of interviewees said that road weather had a strong or very strong influence on the time reserved for the journey. Similarly, 51% of drivers said that the information affected their choice of departure time and 53% said that it affected the time at which they change from winter to summer tyres or vice versa. From the log sheets filled in at weather centres, 90% of the forecasts were found to be correct. Road weather predictions by the Road Administration and Meteorological Institute correlated well. Peak days for traffic accidents were predicted with variable success. The day with the most traffic accidents was accurately forecast, in that all areas in Finland where the accident rate was high had classified prevailing road conditions as poor or hazardous. However, first slippery days were not accurately predicted. On average the classification was deemed fairly successful. Persons responsible for forecasting road weather said that the the increased contact between the Road Administration and Meteorological Institute was a positive trend. They were interviewed in order to collate new ideas for improving the service, many of which were implemented before the winter 1998-1999.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 1999
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesFinnRA Internal Publications
Number19
ISSN1457-991X

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