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Vaisala Transportation

Welcome! This year Vaisala is celebrating our 80 year anniversary. While our past experiences provide us with insight, we are always looking to the future. Managing your transportation system, whether it is air, land, or sea, includes preparing for and managing weather challenges. With 80 years of experience, expertise in weather science, and strong relationships with our customers, we have helped transportation agencies all over the world improve safety, decision-making and operations. Use the links below to learn how Vaisala is moving you forward today, tomorrow, and for the next 80 years.


Moving you today

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Moving you tomorrow

Stay tuned to watch how Vaisala Transportation will move you in the future.

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Vaisala supports the aviation industry with reliable weather observations that help improve decision-making, safety, and efficiency of airport operations LEARN MORE

Roads and Rail

Vaisala helps road and rail agencies improve maintenance operations and ensure safe and smooth traffic flow with surface observations and decision-support tools LEARN MORE


Vaisala provides reliable measurements and environmental observations to help maritime customers enhance their operational efficiency and optimize decision-making. LEARN MORE

Journey Updates

Read how Vaisala Transportation is helping agencies around the world improve their operations. Stories about aviation, roads and rail, and maritime are featured. Check back often as stories will be updated regularly throughout the year.

Over forty years ago Vaisala began a quest to solve the challenge of what is happening to a runway surface during winter weather. It began with a small sensor called the “milk jug sensor.”

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One of the first runway surface sensors was called the "milk jug sensor" because the mold to build the sensor was literally the bottom of a square milk carton. That may not sound very innovative, but it was the material of the sensor and what was on the inside that counts. The technology within the sensor was able to detect the temperature and condition of the runway. The display in the operations center was a simple wooden box with 4 lights, a few switches, and a display for air and surface temperature. This early system provided essential information about a critical spot in aviation, where the wheels touch the runway. Known today as Runway Weather Information Systems (RWIS), these surface sensors combined with a weather station, provide critical information during winter conditions all around the world.

Vaisala began with a "milk jug sensor," but in working with our airport partners and technological advancements, we have moved to fiber optics, intelligent processing algorithms, and lasers to detect surface conditions. Long gone is the wooden box, replaced now with Vaisala cloud data services to access your data any way it is needed.

A fairly recent advancement in road weather technology is non-intrusive surface sensors. These sensors detect road surface temperature and condition from the side of the roadway. But are they better than the embedded sensors that sit in the roadway?

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Non-intrusive and embedded sensors are both excellent choices for collecting road surface information. Which technology you choose depends on your application. When deciding what is right for you, asking lots of questions will help you determine what is best for your application.
Here a few to consider first:

  • In what location do I need road weather monitoring?
  • Does this site restrict me from placing sensors in the roadway or alongside the roadway?
  • Is this a trouble spot where accidents occur frequently?
  • What kind of data do I need from the system – simple, accurate condition information, or more detailed data that includes a grip or friction value?
  • What resources do I have to maintain the system?

In addition, it is always important to educate yourself about a particular technology before investing. Vaisala offers a variety of educational materials to help you learn about surface sensor technology. Vaisala’s iRWIS road weather solution, for example, includes an RWS200 weather station, which allows you the flexibility to deploy only the sensors you need to do the job – accurately. Surface sensors are a key piece of the RWS200 weather station, and either non-intrusive or embedded surface sensors will bring you valuable data from the system.

For oil and gas operations, and liquid natural gas (LNG) transportation in particular, severe weather – especially lightning – can present a significant safety risk when vessels are in port loading or unloading their dangerous cargo.

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What to monitor, where, and how will depend on the characteristics of the port in question. And the danger posed by lightning is real. Unfortunately there have been lightning incidents that resulted in explosions and/or fatalities during loading and unloading of materials. Learning from these terrible incidents, many terminal operators have implemented lightning detection systems. Vaisala is a leader in lightning detection technology and provides lightning detection anywhere in the world, including remote locations and over oceans. Early warnings can be issued to notify personnel of an approaching thunderstorm, which enables them to halt sensitive operations, minimize operational downtime and increase safety – something we all understand.

Want to speak with one of our transportation weather experts?

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