By 2010, there will be 59 metropolitan areas with populations greater than 5 million – up 50% from 2001. Many of these new city dwellers will be driving cars, so if you think your day is plagued by gridlock now, buckle your seat belt. Quite simply, our cities transportation infrastructure and management approaches can’t handle the world’s traffic.
We need to stop focusing only on pieces of the problem: adding a new bridge, widening a road, putting up signs and establishing commuter lanes, or deploying traffic copters. Instead, we need to look at relationships across the entire system.
Our cities can infuse intelligence into their entire transportation system – streets, bridges, intersections, signs, signals and tolls, which can all be interconnected and made smarter. We can reduce congestion, cut pollution, shrink fuel use and decrease CO2 emissions.
Experts today look at causes such as human behavior and the effects that architecture, urban design and engineering have. Efforts such as electronic road pricing systems have been implemented in cities like London, Stockholm and Singapore, which reduces traffic and offers a wealth of digital information that can lead to important mathematical analysis of patterns toward further solutions.
In this episode of Building a Smarter Planet, we take a closer look at some of these issues and hear from three experts in the field: author Tom Vanderbilt, engineer Sam Schwartz, and IBM researcher Laura Wynter.
Download the mp3:
"Building A Smarter Planet -Traffic"