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Weather delays? Riskpulse aims to keep trucking safe and on time

Austin firm arms carriers, shippers with more advanced data to help inform decision-making

 Snowstorms and other weather events can cause slowing traffic, increase congestion, and ultimately delays and/or cancellations in the pickup and delivery of goods. ( Photo: Virginia Dept. of Transportation )
Snowstorms and other weather events can cause slowing traffic, increase congestion, and ultimately delays and/or cancellations in the pickup and delivery of goods. ( Photo: Virginia Dept. of Transportation )

Each year, 22% of all crashes on U.S. roadways are attributed to weather. More than 32 billion commercial vehicle hours are lost due to weather-related congestion, and nearly 12% of all truck delays in just 20 cities are due to weather, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) reports.

The impact of weather, though, goes beyond just delays and crashes. Allianz Risk Transfer Group reports that weather impacts the economy to the tune of $534 billion annually. While high-profile weather events such as hurricanes, floods and tornados leave visible damage in their wake, weather impacts can be more subtle. “Routine weather” such as rain storms or heat waves affect GDP by 3.4%, Allianz says.

For those tasked with moving goods, the impact can be significant. Weather costs the U.S. trucking industry between $2.2 billion and $3.5 billion each year, USDOT notes. Understanding and proactively accounting for weather, though, can help trucking industry stakeholders mitigate the impacts.

Riskpulse is one of the companies doing just that. The Austin, TX-based firm is using its dynamic product lineup to help decision-makers manage the risks weather can play in the movement of goods. Using probabilistic intelligence, data visualization and recommendations within web-based platforms, the company is leveraging an in-house team of meteorologists to research and analyze weather risk up to 40 days out.

“What we found was that weather information was out there, but for people and businesses, [they are concerned with] how the weather is going to affect their family, their businesses, their agencies,” says founder and CEO Matthew Wensing.

Filling a weather information gap

Launched in 2007 as Stormpulse Inc., the company quickly found a market for its products, reaching six million users on the consumer side within five years. Offered through a website and media partnerships, the company’s early products sought to “create aggregation of the weather.”

Wensing says he founded the company along with Brad Wiemerslage after seeing the effect a series of hurricanes had on Florida. “I’ve always been cultural weather obsessed,” he points out. “When four hurricanes hit Florida in 2004, I saw an opportunity to [provide advanced] weather data.”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.
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