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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Saturday, December 9, 2000
Contact: Lori Irving, (202) 366-0660
FHWA 128-00

U.S. and Iowa Departments of Transportation Announce New Source for Road-Weather Information

INDIANAPOLIS - Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle and Iowa Department of Transportation Director Mark Wandro today announced "FORETELL," an innovative Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology that will provide timely, detailed and relevant weather-related road information to the public via the Internet.

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore want all Americans to benefit from opportunities provided by the Internet, and we are pleased to provide this new application," U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater said. "FORETELL will provide our state and local transportation partners the ability to detect changing road conditions rapidly, giving them more time to respond to winter weather problems."

Every year, consequences of adverse winter road conditions are severe. More than 1,150 deaths in the U.S. and Canada are associated with crashes related to bad weather and adverse road conditions. Costs run up to $2 billion for snow and ice control, and lost time and money due to the inaccessibility of urban and rural centers.

"I am proud of the U.S. Transportation Departments leadership in funding and developing this system," Wykle said. "We expect great benefits from FORETELL: decreased traffic congestion, reduced fuel waste and fewer on-the-road injuries and fatalities."

The U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Highway Administration, in partnership with the Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and a private partner, Castle Rock Services funded this innovative technology. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations National Weather Service and Environment Canada is combined with information from road sensors and other collection devices to provide the most detailed weather and road condition information currently available.

Information collected by FORETELL is expected to be used by highway and trucking professionals, everyday commuters, long-distance travelers, transit operators, radio stations and other media outlets.

FORETELL will help users by:

  • Making road information more accessible to rural and urban travelers.
  • Improving highway safety and the ability for travelers to make good decisions about time, mode and route of travel.
  • Providing information across state lines.
  • Simplifying, via the Internet, access to road-weather information across the country and eventually throughout North America.

Currently established in three pilot states Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin FORETELL is expected to expand nationwide and eventually throughout North America. At this time, while the system is undergoing testing and refinement, access is limited.


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