IBM hopes to steer Pittsburgh toward more intelligent transportation system
Technology giant IBM thinks Pittsburgh can become smarter about transportation.
As part of a three-year, $50 million program to tackle urban problems worldwide, IBM sent eight analysts to Pittsburgh to pinpoint the city’s transportation problems and devise technology-based solutions.
Analysts from the United States, India, Mexico and Norway will provide an estimated $400,000 worth of free technical help to the city through IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge program.
“A common theme we look at is how cities share information,” IBM spokesman Ari Fishkind said as the analysts met with dozens of officials at a Downtown luncheon to kick off the three-week project.
For example, Fishkind said, IBM helped law-enforcement agencies in St. Louis reduce crime by urging them to do a better job of sharing data. In the Charlotte metro area, analysts advised county and municipal governments to collaborate and think regionally when planning capital projects, Fishkind said.
Officials didn’t provide specifics on how improved data-sharing might change Pittsburgh’s transportation system.
Diane Melley, an IBM vice president overseeing the effort, said the analysts would interview more than 40 groups and outline recommendations during an Oct. 12 presentation at Carnegie Mellon University. They intend to contribute to the city’s development of a comprehensive plan addressing transportation needs for the next 25 years, Melley said.
Pittsburgh’s transportation planning effort, known as MovePGH, “shows that this is an issue that is front-and-center for the mayor and other local leaders. The important thing is that that road map does not sit idle,” Melley said.
“If you want to be a great place to live, you have to have great transportation systems. IBM has brought in a first-class team to help us build on our recent successes,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said, citing an East Liberty pilot project to reduce congestion by using sensors to control traffic signals based on traffic conditions.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].