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One of the many effects of global warming is the increase in a wide range of extreme weather events, the likes of which we are currently seeing in the US; hotter heat waves, drier droughts, bigger storm surges and greater snowfall. While it's hard to pinpoint if climate change has triggered these events, the trajectory is clear, extreme weather events are more common place than ever before because of global temperature increases.1
In fact, according to a report by the United Nations,2 there has been a staggering rise in the number of extreme weather events over the past 20 years, driven largely by rising global temperatures and other climatic changes. The report highlights that from 2000 to 2019, there were 7,348 major natural disasters around the world, killing 1.23 million people and resulting in $2.97 trillion in global economic losses. By comparison, the previous 20-year period, 1980-1999, had 4,212 natural disasters, claiming 1.19 million lives, and causing $1.63 trillion in economic losses.
Much of this increase can be attributed to climate change with climate-related disasters jumping 83 percent — from 3,656 events during the 1980-1999 period to 6,681 in the past 20 years. Major floods have more than doubled, the number of severe storms has risen 40 percent, and there have been major increases in droughts, wildfires, and heatwaves.
With extreme weather events clearly on the rise, the question that needs to be answered is, how as a global population do we adjust our lives to ensure we can live in the new normal of extreme weather events? And how can we utilize the latest data available to better understand human behavior and help prepare, cope and deal with such events?
At Wejo, we know that the insights gathered via connected vehicles are a powerful tool for a wide range of driving-related services, from roadside assistance to traffic management, and improving routing during events. The ability to access real-time insights via our products, as in our Real Time Traffic Intelligence (RTTI) product, is an invaluable tool to our Departments of Transportation (DoTs) subscribers.
In fact, our tools provided unique, invaluable insights from connected vehicles during the Texas Winter Storm of 2021, where our insights showed that:
Our early analysis of the bomb cyclone that recently swept the US shows that yet again Americans have turned to their vehicles for both heat and power, and likely news updates via their car radios.
At state-level, we see an abrupt increase in relatively stationary journeys (no more than 100 meters, or 328 feet) where the vehicle was powered on for long periods of time (greater than 30 minutes). Compared to the same period in 2021, it’s clear that the key driver of this is the bomb cyclone weather event and the related power outages.
The above chart looks at the state of Ohio and shows that people are 5 times more likely to be keeping warm in their vehicles compared to the previous year (2021), starting on 23rd December 2022 and coinciding with the winter storm.
Our early investigations showed that this trend – vehicles being activated for longer than 30 minutes, but not moving - followed the storm as it progressed across the mainland US, demonstrating that Americans have more than likely turned to their vehicles for both heat and power.
These insights show the importance of vehicles in not only the daily lives of everyday Americans, but also how reliant they have become on them during times of extreme weather – especially cold weather, which can result in heat and power outages.
Commenting on these early insights, Wejo’s Founder and CEO, Richard Barlow, stated that: “These insights are invaluable when it comes to deciding how to prioritize resources during times of extreme weather and are only available thanks to connected vehicle data. From understanding what roads are closed and blocked due to vehicles, to identifying rural areas where residents have turned to their vehicles due to power outages and may need assistance, the power of the insights that we can give to DoTs and emergency services during extreme weather cannot be underestimated.”
DoTs and emergency response services need to access real-time insights becomes clear as Wejo educates these constituencies on the insights we can provide. This educational initiative led to the creation of winter insights offerings.
In addition to RTTI, Wejo offers another product helpful for winter: Wejo Winter Road Insights powered by NIRA DYNAMICS. This product enables governments with a cost-effective solution to effectively treat road networks and make life-saving decisions during the winter. This solution compiles road temperature data, slippery alerts to better inform salting, road closures and prioritizing snow removal plans.
By monitoring the performance of the road networks during potentially dangerous weather conditions, Winter Road Insights provides DoTs and emergency response services the ability to understand the effectiveness of road treatments, saving vital resources when needed the most. With Winter Road Insights, commuters can travel safely by understanding which roads are affected by weather and first responders can guarantee better incident response times.
In fact, the breadth of how real-time insights can be used by Government Departments opens-up massive opportunities to improve responses to incidents on roads, road closures and power outages.
Connected vehicle data also enables sectors, such as vehicle repair shops and after-sales, to better prepare for what vehicle parts and services maybe required post-event, as our analysis also shows a rise in vehicle body damage during extreme weather events, amongst other necessary repairs. This enables after-sales to have the relevant stock required to get drivers back on the road quicker.
In short, when it comes to extreme weather events, connected vehicle data plays a vital role in keeping America moving and getting the US back to normal once the storm has passed.
Wejo Group Limited is a global leader in cloud and software analytics for connected, electric, and autonomous mobility, revolutionizing the way we live, work and travel by transforming and interpreting historic and real-time vehicle data. The Company enables smarter mobility by organizing trillions of data points from 20.1 million vehicles, of which 13.7 million were active on the platform transmitting data in near real-time, and over 87.2 billion journeys globally as of November 30, 2022, across multiple brands, makes and models, and then standardizing and enhancing those streams of data on a vast scale. Wejo partners with ethical, like-minded companies and organizations to turn that data into insights that unlock value for consumers. With the most comprehensive and trusted data, information, and intelligence, Wejo is creating a smarter, safer, more sustainable world for all. Founded in 2014, Wejo has offices in Manchester, UK and in regions where Wejo does business around the world. For more information, visit: www.wejo.com or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
This communication contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.wejo.com/forward-looking-statements
Ben Hohmann, Wejo
Katie O’Brien, Raffetto Herman Strategic Communications on behalf of Wejo
Tahmin Clarke, Wejo