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IBM and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority Pilot Innovative Traffic Prediction Tool


ARMONK, NY - IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the successful completion of a pilot test on traffic prediction in Singapore’s Central Business District.

Using historical traffic data and real-time traffic input from the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s i-Transport system, IBM’s Traffic Prediction Tool predicted traffic flows over pre-set durations (10, 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes). Overall prediction results were well above the target accuracy of 85 percent. With these predictions, LTA’s traffic controllers will be able to anticipate and better manage the flow of traffic to prevent the build-up of congestion.

At a global level, this innovative use of technology represents another option in the response to the complexity of mega-urban congestion, especially in the developing world.

While infrastructure growth is required in many cities, it cannot be the only solution to congestion given the significant budgetary, social and environmental costs. IBM believes innovation can and needs to be applied to the challenge of mega-urban congestion. For example, technologies such as the Traffic Prediction Tool enable more intelligent use of a city’s existing infrastructure.

The Traffic Prediction Tool was developed by IBM Research. The pilot was supported by a global IBM team, with resources from Singapore, the UK and the USA, working closely with a team from the LTA. The pilot took place from December 2006 to April 2007.

Both speed and volume predictions covering the Central Business District were above the target accuracy of 85 percent. In addition, during peak periods where more real-time data was available, the average accuracy of the volume forecasts on the District was near or above 90 percent from 10-minutes all the way to the predictions 60-minutes into the future.

LTA’s co-investment in the pilot was funded from its Land Transport Innovation Fund. The purpose of the $10 million fund is to accelerate the development of innovative ideas and the adoption of strategic technologies to meet LTA’s mission of providing an efficient and cost-effective land transport system.

Dr. Chin Kian Keong, Chief Engineer, Transportation, LTA, said, “LTA is constantly looking for innovative new solutions to achieve our objective of a smooth and seamless journey for all. This collaboration is significant as it demonstrates the success of LTA’s engagement with the private sector in seeking solutions to expand on and improve our range of traffic management tools to keep traffic flowing.”

Teresa Lim, Managing Director, IBM Singapore, said, “LTA and IBM’s collaboration in this pilot enhances Singapore’s standing as a leader in urban transport management globally. It further demonstrates our joint commitment to innovative practices to improve the quality of life in Singapore. IBM is committed to be LTA’s partner in innovation and to bring our global research, technical and consulting capabilities to Singapore.”

The LTA-IBM pilot is part of IBM’s Global Innovation Outlook (GIO) Urban Transportation Project. Launched in 2004, the GIO opened IBM’s business and technology forecasting processes to provide a dynamic platform for discussing important issues regarding business, society and technology with some of the world’s most interesting thinkers and partners. GIO 2.0 identified “Transportation and Mobility” as a focus area for significant potential innovation, especially with regard to mitigation and prevention of traffic congestion in mega-urban centres. The Urban Transport Project was subsequently established to develop potential solutions. IBM has since been working with a number of cities around the globe to establish additional pilots that further put this vision into practice.

About IBM’s Traffic Prediction Tool and LTA’s i-Transport

The IBM Traffic Prediction Tool is a patent-pending technology for predicting traffic flows and speeds on road segments developed by IBM’s Watson Research Laboratories. TPT provides the traffic state characteristics (volume and speed) that best characterise the traffic state into the short- and medium-term future. The technology makes use of adaptive statistical techniques, in conjunction with automated error correction for multiple time horizons.

i-Transport is at the heart of LTA’s Intelligent Transportation System Centre. The system integrates LTA’s various ITS tools, including its computerised traffic signals system called the Green Link Determining System, TrafficScan, Expressway Monitoring Advisory System, Junction Electronic Eyes and Electronic Road Pricing. These tools provide LTA’s operational and historical traffic data.


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