IBM Works To Make Traffic Smarter And Smoother

What exactly is IBM, these days? Since dropping the ThinkPad line off at the doorstep of Lenovo, the company has strayed from the consumer realm. These days, they're focusing mostly on services and enterprise, not to mention a little thing by the name of Watson. But the company has made sure to make one thing very clear: they're out to make a smarter planet. And smarter means safer. IBM has joined with Caltrans and UC Berkeley in order to help commuters avoid congested roadways.

The collaborative effort aims to help people avoid congestion before they get to it, and to better understand, predict and manage traffic flow. The highlight is a new predictive modeling tool that will let drivers quickly access personalized travel recommendations to help them avoid congestion, and save time and fuel. By joining forces, IBM, Caltrans and the Mobile Millennium team within the CCIT hope to provide drivers with valuable predictive information on what traffic patterns are likely to look like – even before they leave work or home and get in their vehicles – rather than discover what has already happened and is being reported.

Using this predictive and analytic traffic tool, transportation agencies and city planners in the future will be able to proactively design, manage and optimize transportation systems to deal with ever-increasing traffic due to population growth and increasing urbanization. It's hard to say if something like this really will help places like LA iron out gridlock problems, but the video here definitely gives us hope that traffic jams will at least partially be a thing of the past.