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IBM and City of Lyon, France to Create Transportation Management Center of the Future

First-of-a-kind collaboration to create real-time response plans, better decision-making and faster response to traffic congestion and incidents

BARCELONA, Spain, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- During Smart City Expo and World Congress, IBM (NYSE:  IBM) and the City of Lyon, France, today announced a first-of-a-kind analytics technology that brings new intelligence to the city's transportation management center. The pilot gives transportation engineers real-time decision support on steps to reduce traffic congestion and enable faster incident response time when an unexpected event occurs. 

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Proactively managing the resulting traffic congestion means travelers spend less time stuck in a traffic jam because detours can be put into place quickly and more accurate alternate route suggestions help citizens get back on their way sooner.

IBM researchers are piloting a system with the City of Lyon which will be used to help traffic operators in its transportation management center evaluate an incident and make more informed assessments about which actions would restore traffic flow. Using real-time traffic data, the new analytics and optimization technology can help officials predict outcomes and analyze different scenarios to resolve problems.

For example, recommended actions could be adjusting traffic signals to allow cars to detour more quickly and to allow for emergency vehicles to enter, adjusting ramp metering or road closures or changing variable message signs to alert of trouble ahead.

"As the city of Lyon strives to improve mobility for its citizens and  become a leader in sustainable transportation, piloting this analytics  technology will help the city anticipate and avoid many traffic jams  before they happen and lessen their impact on citizens," said Gerard Collomb, Senator Mayor of Lyon. "Using the data that we are collecting  to make more informed decisions will help us to promote  about how to resolve unexpected traffic events and optimize public transportation that is becoming a credible alternative to the use of private cars."

Traffic management centers have sophisticated video walls and color maps of real-time traffic that can integrate different streams of traffic data, but do not provide full situational awareness across the transportation network. Today, command center officials use predefined response plans or make decisions on the fly. Neither method allows traffic operators to factor current and future traffic patterns into their decision-making process.

Using software from IBM, actionable historical and real-time traffic data from the City of Lyon is combined with advanced analytics and algorithms to help model predicted conditions under both normal and incident conditions, and the resulting impact across the entire network of roads, buses and trams. The system can also be used to estimate drive times and traffic patterns in a region more accurately and in real-time.

Over time, the algorithms will "learn" by incorporating best practices and outcomes from successful plans to fine-tune future recommendations. Additionally, the command center can develop traffic contingency plans for major events such as large sporting events or concerts.

"Today transportation departments often capture real-time traffic data, but there is no effective way to manage and find actionable insight to act upon instantaneously for the immediate benefit of the traveller," said Sylvie Spalmacin-Roma, vice president, Smarter Cities Europe, IBM. "With the City of Lyon, we will demonstrate how the transportation management center of the future will use analytics to improve the decision-making process, improve first responder time and get citizens moving more efficiently by better managing traffic."

The new predictive traffic management technology, named Decision Support System Optimizer (DSSO), combines incident detection, incident impact prediction and propagation, traffic prediction and control plan optimization.  It also uses the IBM Data Expansion Algorithm, which can estimate traffic data that it is not available from sensors using descriptive flow models in conjunction with the available real-time traffic data. The new technology is compatible with the IBM Intelligent Operation Center's Intelligent Transportation solution. IBM's software solutions for cities draw on experience gained from Smarter Cities projects with cities around the world.

IBM is building on experience gained from Smarter Cities engagements around the world. Working with IBM, city leaders can now monitor, measure and manage a wide range of city services such as water management and intelligent transportation among others. Using advanced technologies, like analytics software, IBM is helping cities of all sizes apply intelligence to their city operations to deliver better services to their citizens.

For more information on IBM Smarter Cities, visit

Sara Delekta Galligan 
IBM Media Relations 
415 565 6715




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