Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

As I write this post, I’m simultaneously watching the live video stream (archive forthcoming) of the Smarter Transportation forum in Washington D.C. and following the Twitter stream coming out of the event. What’s impressing me about the forum is the focus on first-hand accounts about what has already been done in many places around the world to solve the big transportation issues facing cities, including congestion pricing, multi-modal transportation planning and high-speed rail. Stay tuned here for a full recap of the event later today.

In the meantime, I want to point readers to two related transportation announcements we made this morning. Here is a bit more background on both:

1. Road pricing trial results in the Netherlands.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/57731922@N00/301154651/

Aerial View, Eindhoven

Source: Flickr

Consistent with the themes in this morning’s transportation forum, road pricing is a growing tool being used by cities and states around the world to change behaviors drivers and shift the balance of transportation from car-dependent to a more multi-modal form system. Six month ago, IBM and NXP Semiconductors began a pilot in Eindhoven to implement variable road pricing based on traffic demand, time of day and type of car (i.e., size + environmental impact of vehicle). Following are some insights from the pilot:

  • * Seventy percent of drivers improved their driving behavior by avoiding rush-hour traffic and using highways instead of local roads.
  • * On average, these drivers in the trial saw an improvement of more than 16 percent in average cost per kilometer.
  • * A clear system of incentives is critical to changing driving behavior.
  • * Instant feedback provided via an On-Board Unit display on the price of the road chosen and total charges for the trip is essential to maximizing the change in behavior.

Importantly, based on the success of the pilot, the Netherlands are looking at similar projects across other parts of the country in an attempt to meet some impressive objectives:

  • * Fifty-eight percent reduction in delays caused by traffic jams;
  • * Fifteen percent reduction in the total number of kilometers driven annually;
  • * Ten percent reduction in CO2 emissions;
  • * Six percent increase in total passenger kilometers via public transportation;
  • * More than 50 percent of Dutch households will pay less than they do currently for the motor vehicle tax and vehicle purchase tax.

2. Using math to reduce traffic.

Scientists in our labs are using mathematical models and data capture to develop advanced predictive models on traffic behaviors to give drivers better information on their daily commutes. The hope is that with better data at the hands of drivers, comes better decisions, all resulting in a net improvement in time spent in traffic, reduced fossil fuel waste and less carbon spent getting people from place to place. This effort is part of a newly formed Center for Smarter Transportation Systems, comprised of IBM Researchers, mathematicians, industry consultants and software developers.

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Road pricing is a simple tool and it works, but roadpricing is not a tool for the future. We cannot base our society on price mechanisms, especially in the case of traffic where citicens who cannot afford to pay their way have to use second rate public transport. The system for the future is called TrafficLogistics (Trafikklogistikk in Norwegian), this is about PRIORITY. Please see http://Trafikklogistikk.com If you want to develop TrafikkLogistikk together with me, please contact me.

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