IBM to offer personalized travel routes using traffic data

IBM wants to use traffic data to give commuters personalized travel routes to avoid highway gridlock.

The company announced today that it is developing technology that will be able to predict the outcomes of varying transportation routes to provide a personalized recommendation "that get commuters where they need to go in the fastest time."

IBM will use predictive analytics technologies to weigh factors such as traffic accidents, current and planned road construction, most traveled days of the week, expected work start times, local events that may impact traffic, parking availability and weather.

Working with state and local transportation agencies, the company will launch a few pilot projects to gauge commuters' reactions. Participants will receive the recommended routes via the web or mobile devices.

"The data exists to give commuters and transportation agencies a better way to manage traffic by today it's not connected," said Gerry Mooney, IBM General Manager for the Public Sector.

IBM held a forum on Capitol Hill today to promote alternate forms of eco-friendly transit.

Several different models have been tried abroad. In the Netherlands, for example, the rail system uses a smart card to track and evaluate the different transportation time tables and routes to improve the system.

In Sweden, officials charge commuters fees to enter and exit Stockholm in an effort to reduce travel time and encourage commuters to get off the road.

Rep. Earl Blumenaur
(D-Ore.) has introduced legislation to extend his state's transit project to every other state  "so that people all across the country can have a chance to experiment themselves…It has an opportunity for us to use slightly different technological approaches.”

Portland, Ore., currently utilizes streetcars and a light-rail, which is often cited as a model of public transportation.

The IBM project wouldn’t necessarily alter any forms of transportation, but allow for commuters to utilize the current transportation in a more effective way.