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IBM, Telvent Teaming Up to Fight Traffic Issues for Small Cities

traffic congestion

It's hard to overlook the traffic issues in large cities like New York and Los Angeles. But smaller towns and cities have traffic problems too, and they add up—in cities with populations of less than 500,000 people, travelers still spend up to 20 hours a week on delays. What's a cash-strapped metropolis to do?

IBM and Telvent are teaming up on a transportation management and analytics system that, according to IBM, offers real-time traffic visibility with help from road sensors, bus schedules, real-time GPS locations, and IBM's secret analytics sauce. In practical terms, that means a city could accurately predict where traffic jams will be an hour from now, warn commuters, suggest alternate routes, and even adjust bus schedules to ease congestion. Cities could also adjust parking information and readjust traffic signals to help out.

IBM can't possibly eliminate all traffic jams, but consider this: the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that best practices in operational strategies (i.e. incident management and optimization of traffic signal control) could potentially cut down on urban travel delay by 500 million hours per year. That's a lot of saved time.

No word on when IBM and Telvent's system will be available, but the companies claim that it will be cost effective for small cities.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.