Surface Wind Forecasts for Long-Haul Trucking Operations

  • Atmospheric wind-field forecasts and oceanographic surface-wind/surface-current/sea-state forecasts are already being used for aircraft and ship routing/scheduling to achieve minimum time or minimum fuel for transportation between two points. Compared to aircraft and ship operations, truck routes are constrained to the highway system. However, depending on load urgency, there is flexibility in truck scheduling to avoid headwinds or to take advantage of tailwinds. Additionally, there are business-related decisions associated with foreknowledge of route-tailored surface winds: i.e., whether to accept a load and what to charge to transport it. The most optimum decisions can be made when surface winds are forecast to be strong and changing over the planned truck route. Pertinent is that relative wind over a moving truck affects fuel-consumption (and greenhouse gas emissions) as the square of the relative velocity, and relative wind (yaw) angle.

    Windy already has real-time access to the North American Mesoscale (NAM) model with sufficient 5-kilometer grid resolution. Integration (interpolation) with the national highway database, time-phased according to speed limits in the database, using a vehicular wind drag model, can be used to calculate equivalent head/tail wind over a planned route for a list of truck departure times. The following, readily available information can be used to produce an interactive, Web-based, tabular, trucking decision aid.

    • Department of Transportation National Highway Planning Network (NHPN) Geographical Information System (GIS) database (line segment features) for current and planned highways across the United States.
    • Department of Energy Heavy Vehicle Aerodynamic Drag model to calculate vehicular (tractor/trailer) wind-induced drag as a function of truck highway speed and wind speed/direction relative to the highway.
  • Moderator

    Very interesting !
    Almost every day we discover new applications for weather models !

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