IBM, Telvent to relieve traffic congestion in small cities

IBM and Telvent will bring advanced traffic prediction and mobility technology to small cities.

IBM and Telvent on Friday said that they will deploy "smart traffic" technology developed specifically for small cities, university and government campuses and business districts.

Until now, only the congestion problems of largest urban areas -- New York, Los Angeles, Houston -- were paid attention. (And understandably -- if you've ever driven in any of those cities, you know what a logistics headache it can be.)

But smaller cities -- those with populations of less than 500,000 people, such as Kansas City, Fresno and Cleveland and Minneapolis -- still have problems, namely traffic spikes from events such as rush hour, big-ticket concerts, major construction projects and weekend football games.

Even for those events, people spend up to 20 hours a week wasted on delays, costing cities millions of dollars each year, IBM says.

So IBM and Telvent are partnering to bring predictive analytics, road sensors and consequently real-time information to smaller cities at a price point that's lower than what's available for the big metropolises.

The idea: help smaller cities be more proactive, rather than reactive, to traffic issues.

That goal is realized with traffic control, road sensors, bus schedules, real-time GPS location and analytics on the back end. So a city can presumably predict an upcoming traffic jam and shift public transportation to alternative routes, or simply more nimbly handle an unexpected service outage.

Cities can also wirelessly monitor the availability of parking spaces.

"Real-time visibility across a entire transportation network is key to better traffic management regardless of the size of the area or population," Telvent CEO Ignacio Gonzalez said in a statement.

Photo: Minneapolis, Minn. (Bobak Ha'Eri/Wikipedia)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com