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Artificial intelligence, computer modelling and live data – as well as cutting-edge sensors to check road surface temperatures and moisture levels – will be used by North Yorkshire County Council to monitor thousands of miles of roads.

The county council’s highways team has already invested in equipment to provide it with the most up-to-date weather information. The last tranche of investment was more than £500,000.

Alongside up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, its network of 27 weather stations at key locations across England’s largest county provide real-time information to help the council make accurate, informed decisions about when and where to grit roads.

North Yorkshire County Council officers at one of the weather stations with managers from Vaisala, a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements.

The stations include solar-powered cameras that relay live images of road conditions to the county council’s website, where they are viewed hundreds of thousands of times each winter to help people plan their journeys.

Now, the council is building on a working relationship of more than 20 years with Vaisala, a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements and has begun using Vaisala’s artificial intelligence technology.

As a result, thorough surveys of the condition of the road network can be undertaken more quickly, enabling the council to target resources most efficiently.

North Yorkshire County Council is also trialling Vaisala Wx Horizon, a system that uses real-time weather information, alongside computer modelling.

The authority is investigating Internet of Things sensors to supplement existing weather stations to give more accurate data at more locations.

North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transportation, Coun Keane Duncan, said: “North Yorkshire’s highways network is vital to the everyday lives of the county’s residents and businesses.

“That’s why we have a strong track record in putting ourselves at the forefront of technological advances to keep our roads open during winter.”

Jarkko Sairanen, Vaisala’s executive vice president for weather and the environment, said: “I am convinced the county and its people will benefit from the latest advances in mobile and Internet of Things technologies to keep the road network safe and accessible.”

The hi-tech solution keeping 5,800 miles of North Yorkshire road open for motorists this winter

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