IBM Brings 50% Reduction in Waiting Time to the Morning Commute in Sweden's Capital

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STOCKHOLM - 23 Sep 2009: The Stockholm Congestion Charging System, created by IBM (NYSE: IBM) has significantly improved access to the Swedish capital by halving queuing times on access roads to the city in the mornings. City traffic is down by 18% and CO2 emissions in the inner city have been cut by between 14 and 18 percent. These are the results of the latest study on the system by the Stockholm City Traffic authorities.

In addition, the number of "green", tax-exempt vehicles has almost tripled, with the study showing that the congestion charging system the most influential factor in the decision to choose a "green" car. The number of commuters on public transport has increased by around 7 percent or 60 000 passengers per day. During 2008, approximately 82 million vehicle passages were handled by the congestion charge system, with an accuracy exceeding 99,99 percent. 

IBM, as prime contractor responsible for solution design, development and initial operation, worked for the Swedish Road Administration and the city of Stockholm to develop the congestion charging system, which was rolled out in August 2007, following a successful pilot. 

"It is quite clear that the positive effects of the congestion charging system are continuing. Reducing traffic volumes, decreasing CO2 emissions and improving accessibility is bringing significant benefits to the city, its visitors, and residents, and has been a factor in Stockholm being awarded European Green Capital for 2010", says Ulla Hamilton, Vice Mayor of Stockholm city responsible for traffic and environment. "It is also satisfying to see that the retail business in the city has not suffered as a result of the congestion charging system." 

The congestion charge is a national tax, with net income expected to be USD 84 million in 2010, returned to the Stockholm region for investment in traffic infrastructure. 

"Intelligent transportation systems like the Stockholm solution are key to effective traffic management and sustainable cities." says Jamie Houghton, IBM's Global Leader for Intelligent Transport Systems. "The Stockholm scheme will continue to be a major influence on many other cities considering managing the challenging urban development without incurring the costs of building new roads." 

According to a new IBM research report, as the world becomes more urbanised -- with 70 percent of the population living in cities by the year 2050 -- a number of cities are struggling to keep pace with increased traffic and congestion problems accompanying urban growth. The report shows that transport has emerged as an urgent priority for municipal planners who need to improve traffic flow in order to promote cleaner, less congested cities. 

The Stockholm system is the largest of its kind in Europe, with 18 barrier-free control points around the inner city equipped with cameras to identify vehicles around a 24 square kilometre area. 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. 

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