When it comes to solving transportation issues, few techniques matter as much as data analysis.
That was the main theme of the latest University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM) colloquium, entitled “Smarter City Vision: An Opportunity to Think and Act in New Ways,” presented by IBM.
“We are gathering tons of data,” Johnny Rowland of IBM’s Intelligent Transportation Solutions told attendees. “Now we have to access it. Nobody is really looking at it.”
In explaining that we can only make improvements to various systems – including transportation, education and public safety – by effectively analyzing data, the speakers borrowed a line from Winston Churchill: “Gentlemen, we have run out of money. Now we must think.”
Last May, IBM and the Texas Transportation Institute formed an intelligent transportation systems collaboration aimed at easing traffic congestion, reducing crashes and improving emergency response times.
“You guys are the thinkers,” IBM Client Executive John Drewry said. “This is where it gets done. That’s what IBM believes, and that’s what we are trying to push. We are trying to take these kinds of ideas and move them into the market in a real-world application.”
In speaking with TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen about the TTI/IBM partnership, Drewry recalled saying, “‘I’m not sure where this is going, but I guess we know it’s going to be good.’ We need folks like you.”
The speakers pointed to international cities where they are using available data and deploying smarter traffic systems that resulted in 20 percent less traffic and a 12 percent drop in emissions.