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Hurricane Florence Photo: SCDOT
A heavy traffic jam in South Carolina as people flee ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Ensuring your real-time routing is accurate during a hurricane

Earlier this week, Trimble announced a series of product advancements at its user conference. At the same time I was reading an e-mail about enhancements to its TruETA solution for route planning, I was beginning to gather resources for our coverage of Hurricane Florence.

It is appearing more and more likely the storm will result in significant disruptions to freight shipments across a large number of states. In reality, that is already playing out, with more than 1.5 million people evacuating, and traffic flows being reversed on several major interstates to more efficiently move those fleeing the storm’s path.

Though Trimble’s enhancements to TruETA did not have anything directly to do with the hurricane, I did reach out to the company to better understand how it could help fleet customers that are in some way impacted by Florence.

Jay Delaney, senior director of product management for Trimble Transportation Enterprise, said the new “driver trip planning” feature takes real-time traffic and weather information into account when factoring in estimated arrival times.

“As the weather events occur, they will have visibility into that and know, ‘I can’t go this way because there’s a weather issue that is affecting my ETA,’ ” Delaney explained.

Both drivers and dispatchers are alerted if congestion will result in a delayed arrival, such as if there is a “mass exodus of people trying to leave the East Coast” due to the hurricane, he added.

Weather information is pulled from the National Weather Service and reaches drivers as soon as it is available.

“As those weather events affect drivers’ routes, no matter where they are in the country, those drivers’ routes will be updated,” Delaney said.  

Looking ahead to after the storm passes, Delaney noted any extended road closures are regularly updated within its system.

“Companies will then know that those roads are now closed, and all routing will be done around those closures,” he said.

Hopefully the dire predictions for Hurricane Florence will not come true. However, if a worst-case scenario does play out, it should be somewhat comforting knowing that software products from Trimble and other technology firms can assist in the immediate recovery efforts, as well as help keep normal shipments moving as efficiently as possible.

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