Joynt: IBM researches traffic management technology

Jordan Joynt

Researchers at IBM are currently testing new technology that could reduce traffic congestion and predict and analyze traffic scenarios.

IBM is testing the traffic technology in Lyon, France, providing traffic operators with “real-time decision support” to reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing smoothly. Using real-time traffic data, analytics and optimization technology can help officials predict outcomes and resolve problems quickly.

“As the city of Lyon strives to improve mobility for its citizens and become a leader in sustainable transportation, piloting this analytics technology will help the city anticipate and avoid many traffic jams before they happen and lessen their impact on citizens,” said Gerard Collomb, Senator Mayor of Lyon in a news release. “Using the data that we are collecting to make more informed decisions will help us to promote about how to resolve unexpected traffic events and optimize public transportation that is becoming a credible alternative to the use of private cars.”

To evaluate situations and outcomes, the system uses “predictive traffic management technology”, called Decision Support System Optimizer. DSSO and the IBM Data Expansion Algorithm merges incident detection, incident impact prediction and propagation, traffic prediction and control plan optimization to determine a plan of action.

The algorithms used will eventually “learn” particular patterns and incorporate best practices from successful plans to provide the best possible solutions.

“Today transportation departments often capture real-time traffic data, but there is no effective way to manage and find actionable insight to act upon instantaneously for the immediate benefit of the traveller,” said Sylvie Spalmacin-Roma, vice president, Smarter Cities Europe, IBM. “With the City of Lyon, we will demonstrate how the transportation management center of the future will use analytics to improve the decision-making process, improve first responder time and get citizens moving more efficiently by better managing traffic.”

The software solutions are created from experience gained from IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative, focusing on economic growth, sustainability and infrastructure. IBM collects and analyzes data, sharing data with decision makers in major cities.