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It is a rare day that you won't take some form of transportation

A bus, train or car to work. A bike to school. A plane for a business trip. And even if you don't leave your home, your life is still influenced by the transportation industry: virtually every tangible good—food, clothing, medicine, vehicles, computers—has been transported into your world from somewhere else.

Transportation—the movement of people and goods from point A to point B—is the life force of our economy. Cities could not exist if we didn't have transportation systems to move people and goods in, out and around them. It has been a leading driver behind globalization: shrinking distances, seeding the emergence of entire new economies and improving the quality of life for millions of people.

Yet many of our transportation systems are inadequate to serve the needs of the 21st century. By integrating technology and intelligence into the physical transportation infrastructure, we can improve capacity, enhance the traveler experience and make our transportation systems more efficient, safe, and secure.

Smarter Transportation video: Introduction (2:26 min)


Cleared for landing: IBM and Boeing co-pilot a first-of-a-kind project

Intelligent Transportation Systems with Boeing video: Cleared for Landing (0:30min)

Multiple agencies need real-time data to make on the spot decisions in urgent situations, such as when an aircraft, for whatever reason, appears to be going off course. To that end, IBM and Boeing have applied Responsive, Reliable and Real-Time (R3) Messaging to a new project, which can help ensure that complex data gathered from distributed sensors—located on aircraft, radar and other ground locations—can arrive at a specific time and in a sequence. Additional software then correlates and analyzes the information efficiently. Read more about the research (US).



The need for progress is clear. The opportunity is here.



Consider what happens when something goes wrong

A storm, a blackout or even a strike in one city can reverberate throughout the entire country because transportation is a complex, interconnected ecosystem of many stakeholders.

When our transportation system grinds to a stop, it costs money—between 1 and 3 percent of our gross domestic product. In the United States alone, 4.2 billion hours are lost to people sitting in traffic every year.

We can't build our way out of congestion with more roads and bridges and tracks. "The pattern we see is that every time a new road is built, utilization increases and congestion comes back," says Phil Mumford, CEO of Queensland Motorways in Australia. "We need to be smarter about how we manage our traffic flow." And our airport capacity. Our railways. And our shipping lanes.



Smarter transportation

Smarter transportation means better systems for rail, air, public transit and freight. These can improve our cities, our economy and our daily lives.

Improving mobility for the 21st century

IBM Chairman Samuel J. Palmisano addresses members of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America about the opportunities for a smarter transportation system.