Move Over Watson: New IBM System Will Predict Traffic

FOXBusiness

IBM (NYSE:IBM) is teaming up with entities in California to develop a first-of-its-kind system that will help detect road congestion in real time in an effort to predict and manage traffic flow.

The computer maker said that even with GPS navigation and real-time traffic alerts and mapping, traffic delays caused by highway incidents such as work zones, rush hour and accidents continue to pose a problem by catching travelers off guard, wasting tons of gas.

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Initially launching in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Smarter Traveler Research Initiative will collect and analyze traffic data generated from exiting sensors in roads, toll booths, brides and intersections. It combines that data with locations based on GPS sensors in participating people’s cell phones to learn preferred travel days and routes.

From there, alerts will be automatically delivered via email or text message on the status of the diver’s typical commute before the trip begins.

The collaborators, including IBM Research, University of California, Berkeley, the California Department of Transportation and the California Center of Innovative Transportation, said they hope the technology provides drivers with valuable predictive information that will enable them to locate traffic patterns in advance.

“In order for intelligent transportation systems to be truly effective, travelers need information they can act upon before getting stuck in traffic,” Stefan Nusser, functional manager of Almaden Services Research of IBM. “By actively capturing and analyzing the massive amount of data already being collected, we're blending the automated learning of travel routes with state-of-the-art traffic prediction of those routes to create useful information that focuses on providing timely, actionable information to the traveler.”

In a statement, the group said the predictive and analyst traffic tool will enable transportation agencies and city planners to proactively design transportation systems to help manage ever-rising traffic issues.

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