Chinese city taps IBM for transport tech upgrade

The Chinese city of Zhenjiang aims to use IBM tech to boost the efficiency of its public transit system and reduce traffic congestion.

The Chinese city of Zhenjiang aims to boost the efficiency of its public transit system and reduce traffic congestion through a new contract with American tech giant IBM.

The city (population 3 million, or between Chicago and Los Angeles in size) will connect new hardware, software, services and technologies with a centralized "intelligent operations center." Officials hope the efficiency upgrade will increase economic development, tourism and public welfare -- and probably ease pressure on city coffers and overworked employees, too.

The project includes plans to replace and upgrade more than 400 bus stations and more than 1,000 public transportation vehicles. A new bus scheduling system will actively manage traffic patterns on some 80 routes across the city. Meanwhile, officials in the operations center will receive a bird's-eye-view of what's going on throughout the system.

IBM says its technology can help anticipate traffic jams before they happen through fleet simulations and real-time monitoring. As Zhenjiang has grown into a regional hub -- it sits near the intersection of the Yangtze River and the Grand Canal, about 30 mins from Nanjing and 3 hours from Shanghai by rail -- the assistance is welcome.

For IBM, the stakes are high: the tech market for cities in the Asia-Pacific region is estimated to be worth $5.5 billion each year, according to Pike Research. China comprises 30 percent of that spend.

Photo: Joel Ye/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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