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Sunderland deploys road temperature sensors

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Sunderland City Council has installed a collection of infra-red (IR) temperature sensors in roads around the city in an effort to provide forecast data to its winter maintenance team.

It said the data derived from the 10 sensors is being combined with that from its three advanced weather stations for a data led assessment of road surface conditions.

This is providing a greater understanding of the coldest locations on Sunderland’s priority and secondary road networks to support the gritting teams and lay the ground for more effective monitoring and planning.

Data provided by the sensors includes road surface temperatures, air temperatures and dew point temperatures.

The sensors are connected to one of the council’s new wireless networks – provided under its partnership with BAI Communications – designed for transmitting low volume data over a wide area.

Protecting routes

Andy Wilson from Sunderland’s environmental services winter maintenance team said: “The risk of ice is always apparent during periods of freezing winter cold. Here at Sunderland we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that the city’s priority and secondary network routes are optimally treated at all times and kept safely open to commuters.

“The activation of this smart technology and use of the IR road temperature sensors will give us data and equip the team with the latest information to forecast, plan, and then act decisively at the optimum time.”

He added: “The real time data from the road temperature sensors feeds directly into the existing weather forecasts already provided by our forecasting service, DTN Roadmaster. DTN currently generate weather forecasts using the city’s existing advanced weather stations, and the addition of a further 10 smart sensors will only strengthen our ability to ensure that priority and secondary routes across the city are monitored in the greatest detail, and are always optimally treated during periods of freezing winter cold.”  

Liz St Louis, the council’s director of smart cities, said: “The smart road temperature sensors are another example of the strides we are taking to digitally transform Sunderland for the benefit of all who live, work, play and invest here.”


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