ShareThis Page

IBM hopes to steer Pittsburgh toward more intelligent transportation system

Tom Fontaine
| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, 7:29 a.m.

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 tfontaine@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.