Smarter Traffic and Rail Systems

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-07-09 Print this article Print


Smarter Traffic and Rail Systems

Also, IBM is using software in Brisbane, London, Singapore and Stockholm to deploy smarter traffic systems, Zollar said. And at least 20 other cities have active bids to do the same. In Stockholm, the new smart toll system has resulted in 20 percent less traffic, a 12 percent drop in emissions and 40,000 additional daily users of the public transport system.

IBM is eyeing U.S. stimulus funding as it plies its smart technology solutions in the states. According to IBM estimates, the U.S. government has earmarked almost $27 billion for building new highway infrastructure. The White House estimates 150,000 jobs will be created or saved on highway projects alone and some 400,000 overall.

Meanwhile, IBM also is working to deliver smarter rail systems both in the United States and abroad across Europe and China. According to a study IBM released in April, increasing demand on rail systems in the United States and around the world will dramatically strain existing rail infrastructure. The study, "The Smarter Railroad," analyzes new approaches to modernize and build high-speed rail networks globally.

The IBM study indicates that about $300 billion will be spent globally to upgrade, expand and initiate high-speed railway networks during the next five years. These investments will be used to build a new rail infrastructure that can meet increasing rail capacity demand over the next two decades. Even meeting current demand requires that nearly 40 cents on every revenue dollar is spent maintaining the rail system, IBM said.

In another rail initiative, IBM in June IBM opened a new Global Rail Innovation Center in Beijing to bring together industry leaders, researchers and universities to advance next-generation rail systems. The Rail Innovation Center is staffed by a global network of IBM rail consultants, software specialists, mathematicians and business partners. China is in the process of revolutionizing its rail infrastructure and operations for the 21st century, introducing new high-speed trains and a vastly expanded rail network, IBM officials said.

"The global rail industry in 2009 and beyond will struggle to meet the increasing demand for freight and passenger transportation, while aging systems and existing tracks complicate the problem," said Keith Dierkx, director of IBM Global Rail Programs. "However, rail companies around the world are starting to apply new technologies that will help them build high-speed rail systems that more efficiently move people, are more cost efficient and make more intelligent use of all rail assets, from tracks to trains. IBM is already helping railroads build these smarter rail systems around the world."

To help take on all the challenges IBM is addressing in various vertical markets, the company has come up with a series of Service Management Industry Solutions.

"Increasing reliance on computing power to manage physical assets like manufacturing facilities, parts in a supply chain, power plants, billions of mobile phones and other tangible entities, along with the need to deliver better, more intelligent services to customers, is prompting organizations to adopt more dynamic infrastructures," said IBM's Zollar. "IBM Service Management Industry Solutions help organizations use technology to intelligently respond to the global trends and disruptions affecting businesses, while also achieving a sustainable competitive advantage."

The specialized software and services, announced in February, help customers build new, more dynamic infrastructure that will bring more intelligence, automation, integration and efficiencies to the digital and physical worlds, IBM said.

The IBM Service Management Industry Solutions are customized for seven industries: utilities, chemicals and petroleum, telecommunications, retail, banking, electronics, and manufacturing. Also in February, IBM delivered additional new services, a new governance consulting practice, new Tivoli Service Automation Manager software and new Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager software.

"We're creating a software platform-a service management platform to manage assets for the entire infrastructure," Zollar said. "This will manage the life cycle of the assets in a dynamic infrastructure, from procurement of an asset through retirement. This is end-to-end asset management, and it's another piece provided by our Maximo-based technology."

IBM got the Maximo software in its acquisition of MRO Software in 2006.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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