Oil prices may not be rising quite as dramatically as they were a year ago, but mass transportation–and more specifically, high-speed rail–is still growing in scope and importance. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), three quarters of G-20 countries (including France, China, Germany, Indonesia, and Italy) plan to increase funding for transportation infrastructure. And since the cornerstone of any successful transportation network is reliable computer technology, it’s not surprising to hear that IBM is jumping on the high-speed rail train.
The computer giant announced plans today for high-speed rail projects in China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. IBM will be responsible for managing maintenance, logistics, and IT needs in the China and Taiwan projects, while the Netherlands will rely on the company for resource utilization. It’s not a small job.
In the Netherlands, IBM will oversee nearly 5,000 trains passing through a network of 279 stations. The Guangzhou Metro Corporation (GZ Metro) transports 2 million passengers per day across 60 stations, and is investing $1.76 billion this year to expand the network.
All of this is great news for denizens of these three countries, but what about those of us in the United States? When do we get our fancy high-speed rail lines? Relatively soon, if the U.S. government’s $8 billion in rail-line stimulus funds goes ahead as planned. And when we do get our high-speed rail, IBM is likely to be a part of it. The company, which manages Amtrak’s reservation system, is already angling for a chunk of the stimulus money. In the end, IBM might be known more for its ubiquitous transportation software than its consumer technology.