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Smart Traffic

How we get from point A today
to point B tomorrow

Australian officials use intelligent transportation and technology upgrades to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety.

No one loves to pay highway tolls, so it might come as a surprise that drivers on the motorways in and around Brisbane, Australia, had something to cheer about when new plans for an updated toll collection system were announced. However, this project held the promise of reduced congestion and safer conditions for the 250,000 vehicles traveling daily through the growing city’s most highly traveled areas, such as around the massive 853-foot-long Gateway Bridge.

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Traffic congestion

In Moscow, drivers reported an average delay of two-and-a-half hours when asked to report the length of the worst traffic jam they experienced in the past three years. But they’re not alone.

Cities everywhere are battling an increase in demand and an inability to build sufficient infrastructure to cope. For example, in the U.S., as population grew nearly 20% between 1982 and 2001, traffic jumped 236%.

The recent IBM Commuter Pain Study paints a grim picture of metropolitan-area commuters in many cities struggling to get to and from work each day, often with negative consequences. For example, 57 percent of all respondents say that roadway traffic has negatively affect their health, but that percentage soars to 96 percent in New Delhi and 95 percent in Beijing.

Meet the experts

John Hawkins,
Intelligent Transport Systems Practice Lead for IBM Australia and New Zealand

  • About John

    John is passionate about transport and solving congestions issues with more than 20 years of project and programme management experience in commercial and government sectors.

  • Connect with John


IBM Commuter Pain Index

IBM compiled the results of the survey into an Index that ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city on a scale of one to 100―with 100 being the most onerous. The Index reveals a tremendous disparity in the pain of the daily commute from city to city. For example, the commute in Beijing is four times more painful than the commute in Los Angeles or New York, and seven times more painful than the commute in Stockholm, according to the Index.

Here’s how the cities stack up:


The survey was conducted to better understand consumer thinking toward traffic congestion as the issue reaches crisis proportions nationwide and higher levels of auto emissions stir environmental concerns. These events are impacting communities around the world, where governments, citizens and private sector organisations are looking beyond traditional remedies like additional roads and greater access to public transportation to reverse the negative impacts of increased road congestion.

Drivers rated traffic in world cities from 1 to 100, with 100 being the most onorous


Our rapidly urbanising planet depends on getting people and things from here to there. Learn more about what is being said in Australia around traffic..Traffic systems are part of a larger system. Rethinking how we get from point A to point B means applying new technology and new policies to old assumptions and habits. It means improving drivers' experience, not just where and when they drive. And it could lead to advances in the cars we drive, the roads we drive them on, and the public transit we might take instead. For example:

Sydney Council endorses car sharing

The City of Sydney is throwing its support behind the concept of car sharing as a way of improving traffic congestion and quality of life in Australia's capital. As Council's website demonstrates, it is actively encouraging the practice by creating dedicated car share parking spaces in a variety of locations, including Kings Cross, Millers Point, Pyrmont, Glebe, Woolloomooloo, Waterloo.

Fuel economy improvements for urban driving: Hybrid vs. Intelligent vehicles

The quest for more fuel-efficient vehicles is being driven by the increasing price of oil. Chris Manzie, Harry Watson and Saman Halgamuge of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Melbourne, present a research paper which compares two of the emerging technologies in automotive systems, hybrid drivetrains and telematics capability.