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Innovation

Stockholm uses real-time GPS data to manage traffic congestion

Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology and IBM are working together to gather real-time traffic information in an attempt to better manage transportation.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology and IBM announced on Friday a partnership to gather real-time traffic information in an attempt to better manage transportation.

Researchers at the Swedish school are collecting information from global positioning system, or GPS, devices installed in some 1,500 taxi cabs in the city.

The data is crunched by IBM's streaming analytics software, called InfoSphere Streams, and then delivered in the form of real-time insights on traffic flow, travel times and optimal routes to commute.

The system will soon expand to gather data from delivery trucks, traffic sensors, transit systems, pollution monitors and weather information.

Leveraging the power of that information can help residents and city officials alike.

Here's an example: If a city dweller sends a text message detailing his or her location and desired destination, the system can instantly respond with anticipated travel times using a car or public transportation, having processed traffic, rail and weather information from that very moment.

IBM has been working with Stockholm for a year to monitor traffic flow during peak hours.

The congestion management system that was implemented has:

  • Reduced traffic in the city by 20 percent.
  • Reduced average travel times by almost 50 percent.
  • Decreased the amount of emissions by 10 percent.
  • Increased the proportion of green, tax-exempt vehicles to 9 percent.

Upping the "smart" ante even further, IBM says its latest version of the software includes predictive analytics capabilities that can make real-time predictions and discoveries based on data in motion.

That's of serious importance to cities that want to better manage their public transportation systems or street lighting, law enforcement that wants to more accurately predict crimes, and hospitals who want to understand the risks of surgery.

Here's a video explaining how the software works:

Image: Anders Adermark/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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