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Driving Toward Tomorrow’s Challenges

For over forty years Vaisala has lead the way in developing solutions for surface transportation agencies. From early in-pavement sensors, to thermally mapping entire regions of roadway, to installing a variety of sensors near or in the rail network, has provided Vaisala with a wealth of experience to pioneer new technologies. Vaisala was the first to offer a successful roadway sensor that could be mounted from a pole on the side of the road, avoiding disruption of the roadway lanes. Vaisala was also first to offer a viable solution to monitor road surface temperature and conditions from a moving vehicle, and display the data at decision maker’s location. Vaisala has learned what works and what does not in the harsh environment along the road, and thus, reliability and quality are designed into every solution. This means road and rail decision-makers have accurate information 24/7 just like their operations.

Moving You Forward in Surface Transportation
What might our driving experience look like in 20 years when Vaisala turns 100?

The cars we drive in 2038 will be safer than ever. Onboard safety systems will detect, or be notified of, upcoming hazards and automatically take action. The journey to the city will likely be heavily controlled in terms of speed, lane usage, etc. Your new vehicle will be fully connected to the internet with onboard systems giving continuous updates on traffic and weather, with dynamic routing to weave around the congestion – this may even be done automatically. By this point, fully autonomous vehicles will aid, especially in long trips across country or when you can’t find a place to park. When you reach the outskirts of the city, you will park your vehicle and ride fully automated public transportation or rail systems to your office.

How will weather solutions help surface transportation get there?

Weather forecasting will become reliable enough that the entire transportation system in a region will adjust to the weather before it impacts the network. Timing of traffic lights, lane flow, and onboard messaging will anticipate the weather impact, and adjust to avoid gridlock. Once the system is impacted, further adjustments can be made to keep things moving. Also, as the surface conditions begin to change vehicles will receive notifications to avoid loss of grip and keep them moving at a safe speed and distance from each other. Autonomous vehicles will either alert occupants that “manual mode” is necessary or automatically adjust its driving habits to ensure safe travel. They will receive notices from road weather stations, traffic management systems, or even each other. Data will be flowing regarding weather conditions. Sensors on vehicles, combined with roadside weather networks, and even crowdsourcing data from people on social media and personal electronics, will mean agencies will know in real-time what is happening and where. Rail, especially high speed rail, will demand near real-time track and system weather conditions, so travel can move swiftly and efficiently.

Vaisala will be moving surface transportation forward by providing a reference network of high quality observations to ensure that Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) work correctly, because good information equals better system performance. This reference network will allow for the use of mobile and fixed data with confidence, because poor data can be thrown out while good observations can help fill in the holes. Vehicles will also be receiving data, directly or indirectly, from the Vaisala reference network, alerting them to changing weather ahead. Road maintenance agencies will continue to use the Vaisala quality network of road weather stations to make treatment decisions. Nearly all agencies will be proactive and sustainable, using exactly what they need, when they need it, to ensure safe travel and protect the environment.

Read more about our leading weather sciences:

Surface Conditions

40 years of measuring surface conditions equates to better winter deicing decisions on roadways. Learn More


Superior accuracy and reliability of ground visibility translates into stronger confidence in low visibility situations. Learn More

Observing Sensors

Whether it is temperature, wind, or dew point, 80 years of trusted measurements means accurate surface operations for roads and rail. Learn More

Cloud Services

Vaisala manages several, critical global datasets of weather information, and those customers demand data access 24/7, which results in reliable decisions. Learn More

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