Rain sensors to adjust bike signals before it rains

Rain water management in western Netherlands is vital.
Rain water management in western Netherlands is vital.
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Although it doesn’t rain that often when I want to bike, I do try to plan around a rain shower if possible when there is even a threat of rain. One of my best sources is the weather radar at the Environment Canada website. By estimating the speed of the incoming rain from the 7 images displayed, I can usually work around getting soaked. Rain sensors in the Netherlands are going to help getting you home dry.

Rain sensors installed

Netherlands’ cities installed rain sensors already a few years ago. When they detect rain, the computer adjusts traffic signals in favour of cyclists. Now that is innovation in traffic. But Rotterdam (the second biggest city in the Netherlands) is now taking it a step further, by planning to adjust the traffic lights before it actually starts to pour.
As you probably know, the Netherlands, especially the western and northern half, lies below sea level, which means that water management is vital for this part of the country. There is a very sophisticated system in place to manage all that water, be it North Sea water, meltwater from Germany and France, ground water or water from above.
You can see the radar sitting on top of this tower in Rotterdam
You can see the radar sitting on top of this tower in Rotterdam

Sophisticated radar

There is a large battery of computers collecting input from weather sensors. Rotterdam happens to have a very sophisticated radar, many times more advanced than traditional ones. The radar was developed to boot up the pumps in time as well as prepare underground water storage basins (underneath the museum parking garage for example). The software was built at Delft University. The radar can detect size, speed and direction of rain for areas up to 100 x 100 meters (300 x 300 ft). It can also detect snow and drizzle. So the Rotterdammers, known for being practical, came up with the idea that they might as well feed the data into traffic signals system.
When I was young in the early 70’s, deer would graze here as it was still wasteland after the Nazis had bombed the downtown core in 1940. On the far left, the building with the radar

If you happen to be in Rotterdam next time and you notice that the cyclists appear to get the green lights all the time, you know that precipitation is following.

source: http://www.rotterdam.nl/regenradar and Verkeersnet.nl

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