Inside Logistics

Traffic and weather monitoring study launched in Manitoba

Research project will investigate highway transportation infrastructure, reliability and safety in the Canadian Prairie and Northern Region

April 9, 2021

International Road Dynamics Inc. will be participating in a research project with the University of Manitoba (UM) and the National Research Council (NRC) on improvements to highway transportation infrastructure, reliability and safety in the Canadian Prairie and Northern Region. The NRC is the principal funder of the project.

Canada’s vast prairie and northern region relies on roads that must be kept fluid, resilient, and safe for freight transport. In 2017, trucking accounted for 55 percent of total merchandise exports by value in the region.

Major industries in the region – including agriculture, petroleum, forestry, and mining – could not function without a reliable and safe road freight transport system. This network is sparse and subject to seasonal changes, making it prone to risks and hazards that can disrupt the overall supply chain.

With limited public sector dollars available for road development, governments are turning to tech-enabled solutions to help make better informed investment, maintenance and response decisions related to their infrastructure.

Together, IRD, UM and NRC seek to address this challenge. IRD and UM are developing a leading-edge mobile traffic and weather monitoring system that will be deployed throughout the region to capture data over a period of five years.

“We are pleased to partner with UM and the NRC to advance these technologies and methods for mobile traffic data collection and analysis,” said Rish Malhotra, IRD president and CEO.

“Our work on this project will generate high-quality data that will inform far-reaching improvements to traffic planning, which will have a significant impact on how the transportation industry affects the economy and the people and communities it is meant to serve. The findings from this project stand to benefit transportation planning and technology well beyond the Canadian prairies, creating potential new business opportunities for IRD both domestically and internationally.”

The first of its kind in Canada, these systems will be situated at weigh-in-motion and truck traffic monitoring sites throughout Manitoba. The aggregated data will be used to build a data vault that will enable multiple data-intensive investigations in the future.

Researchers at the NRC will use artificial intelligence to run scenario analysis on the data to assess the impact on highway networks from various types of risks and hazards, such as flooding, extreme weather, hazardous materials incidents and longer-term impacts related to climate change.

Results from this analysis will better equip decision-makers to respond to one-time incidents as well as planning for more sweeping long-term environmental changes in order to preserve the resilience and reliability of the highway network.

IRD develops components and systems for the next generation of transportation networks. Together with subsidiaries Sensor Line, PAT Traffic and ICOMS Detections, IRD supplies Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to private corporations, transportation agencies, and highway authorities around the world.