Becoming a “smarter city” is a journey, not an overnight transformation. Cities must prepare for change that will be revolutionary, rather than evolutionary, as they put in place next-generation systems that work in entirely new ways. City administrations must decide what activities are core, and, therefore, what they should shed, retain or explore. Not only that, cities must “assemble the team” – integrate their own administrations and work with other levels of government, especially country-level, as well as private and non-profit sectors. Cities must also take into account the interrelationships among the systems they implement, as well as the interactions among the challenges they face.
Operationally, cities are based on six core systems composed of different networks, infrastructures and environments related to their key functions: people, business, transport, communication, water and energy. These core systems are interconnected and must be treated as such. To understanding one system and make it work better means that cities must comprehend the bigger picture and how the various systems connect.
IBM Smarter Cities solutions capitalise on insights gained through thousands of client implementations worldwide. These solutions, which represent the richest collection of industry and technology expertise, can help cities of all sizes to identify priorities, apply best practice and deploy advanced technologies that help address pressing challenges. IBM Smarter Cities solutions are based on a common model designed to help leaders across departments and agencies to collaborate and integrate seamlessly.
IBM Intelligent Transportation
The cornerstone of an integrated strategy that includes transportation is for an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) to collect and process transportation system data, and share it with other city departments. The ITS can provide managers with a city-wide visibility across the entire transportation network, and the services that depend on it, to improve incident response. When combined with analysis capabilities, it can evaluate traffic patterns and predict the arrivals of public transit to help alleviate congestion and improve commuter satisfaction. When it is integrated with a centralised platform, such as IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center, it enables cross-agency communication and collaboration for incident response and infrastructure maintenance, and can support scenario planning in anticipation of natural disasters and other events.
IBM’s Intelligent Transportation product represents a step forward in integrating traffic management and decision support with other city services. When it is deployed, in conjunction with the Intelligent Operations Center, city managers can gain a powerful, city-wide view of traffic, and importantly, how that traffic can impact other city operations and services. This gives transportation authorities the ability to analyse traffic in real time, evaluate the implications of traffic conditions, and better manage the flow of traffic in a city. This, in turn, can help reduce commute times, improve the commuter experience, reduce pollution, and direct emergency response and public safety teams to better protect the safety and security of citizens.
IBM Traffic Prediction Tool
While IBM’s Intelligent Transportation product is directed at helping city managers and transportation authorities understand historic and real-time traffic, IBM’s Traffic Prediction Tool extends the vision to proactively manage future traffic. As a companion module to the Intelligent Transportation product, the Traffic Prediction Tool uses the historic and real-time traffic data to predict the rates of traffic flow across a defined area between 10 and 60 minutes into the future. If current data is unavailable, the product is able to model likely traffic flows by “filling in” the missing data using the Data Expansion Capability.
The Traffic Prediction Tool’s output can be valuable to city authorities in determining the impact of likely traffic patterns on other operations and services, such as bus routing, emergency dispatch, and special events. It can also be used to provide input for traveller information systems. These systems can give commuters real-time estimates of traffic conditions on the routes they usually travel, which can aid route planning and mitigate congestion.