Forecasting Future Traffic Jams

In many cases real-time traffic updates are just not fast enough. IBM is teaming up with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to tackle this problem. The partners will announce a Smart Transportation initiative to predict traffic patterns up to an hour into the future on state roads.

The NY Times says a series of complex algorithms and analytics make up the software tool that IBM has engineered to instantly interpret the millions of bits of data that flow into a traffic management center. But instead of just alerting drivers to accidents, bottlenecks and dangerous conditions, the software will estimate what traffic will be like in 10, 20 or more minutes, helping drivers to make choices.

“There’s more data than we know what to do with,” said Naveen Lamba, head of the Global Intelligent Transportation group at IBM. “But if you can give the traveling public better information, it could also help the network operators.”

The traffic center is the first in the country to use IBM’s prediction software, and they are a logical choice because New Jersey has some of the busiest roads in the nation. At the center, the three major state agencies, the Transportation Department, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the state police, pool their data and monitor road conditions.

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