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IBM Continues to Help City of Stockholm Significantly Reduce Inner City Road Traffic


STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - Jun 2008: The Stockholm Congestion Charging System, rolled out in August last year following a successful pilot, has reduced traffic in the Swedish capital by 18 percent, and the proportion of green, tax-exempt vehicles has risen to 9 percent. Access to the city has improved significantly with a reduction in travel times on inner city streets and approach roads. These are the results of the latest study by the Stockholm City Traffic authorities on the innovative scheme.

IBM (NYSE: IBM), as prime contractor responsible for solution design, development and operation, worked closely with the Swedish Road Administration and the city of Stockholm to develop the congestion charging system. The project involved collaboration between IBM consulting, research and technology specialists, to ensure successful delivery of an accurate and effective technical solution.

The system, which covers a 24 square kilometre area of the inner city, was introduced after the Swedish National Parliament voted to permanently adopt the road charging scheme trialed by IBM and the Swedish Road Administration in Stockholm in 2006. During the 2006 pilot, traffic was reduced by an overall 22 percent over seven months, and has not returned to previous levels. This is viewed by the Swedish Traffic authorities as a positive residual effect of the trial. Although road traffic in Stockholm county has increased overall, traffic to the inner city has not risen at the same rate, in spite of an increase in the number of residents and jobs.

“Traffic has remained substantially lower since the pilot with IBM, which has brought significant benefits to Stockholm residents. The scheme is meeting the objectives set by the city of reducing traffic volumes, improving accessibility for buses and cars, and improving the environment,” said Birger Hook, Director of the Swedish Road Administration’s traffic registry.

The Stockholm system is the largest of its kind in Europe, with 18 barrier-free control points around the charging zone equipped with cameras and a beacon system to identify vehicles and provide evidence to support the enforcement of non-payers. Payment channels include automatic direct debit, a Giro system at banks, over the Internet, and at retail stores such as 7-11. The congestion charge is a national tax, with revenues returned to the Stockholm region for investment in road infrastructure.

“The system is based on an innovative business model, and is a landmark development for effective traffic management. The successful roll-out is certain to have a major influence on many other cities considering ways to better manage congestion, improve urban environmental conditions and increase economic competitiveness,” says Jamie Houghton, IBM Global Road User Charging Leader.

In addition to working with the city of Stockholm, IBM is also assisting the cities of London, Singapore and Brisbane to address traffic management and congestion challenges. IBM has established a global team of Intelligent Transport System professionals working on a range of technologies and solutions, including researching, testing and developing new traffic information management capabilities.


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