I'm in beautiful, snowy Stockholm this week where KTH (Royal Technical University) and the Swedish Road Administration held a seminar on Smarter Traffic for smart cities. Not only is it great to be here, but it's hilarious to see my name throughout the city. rea means 'sale' in Swedish, so my name is posted in stores everywhere!
Stockholm has long been a leader in providing information to their citizens on traffic options, and implemented with IBM a traffic congestion system. Taking pictures of license plates to charge for entering the core city during certain hours has limited traffic congestion and reduced pollution.
Professor Haris has called this a wonderfully elegant system, but says it's essentially a batch billing system. His vision is to collect data from taxis, city trucks, traffic light loop induction sensors, weather, subway and more to provide a truly intelligent transportation system.
Last fall, Prof Haris and his team with IBM demonstrated collecting data from GPS devices, stored in data files and played back in realtime, then mapped to google maps to show average speeds on various road segments. With this success, the Stockholm Road Administration opened up their taxi cab information to KTH. Since mid December, they have been monitoring nearly 1500 taxis with GPS information and source destination information to provide realtime speed data and estimated arrival time information. Additional data sources will also be forthcoming.
One eventual goal is to have a cell phone applications so people could text a destination, and have the application reply with options - 34 minutes via taxi and 22 minutes via subway. Thus, in realtime, changing behaviour to better balance the city traffic and transportation.
The seminar was in part to thank IBM for a Shared University Research grant where in addition to delivering InfoSphere Streams software, IBM provided 10 blade servers to continue the Transportation education and research at KTH