IBM brings technology expertise to Australia’s first Smart Transport Research Centre

IBM collaborates with transport partners to ease Australia’s commuter pain

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BRISBANE, Australia - 23 Mar 2011: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has partnered with academia, government and industry to launch the Smart Transport Research Centre (STRC) based at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), which is being opened today by the Minister for Transport, the honourable Annastacia Palasczuk. IBM will contribute its global consulting expertise and technology in developing smarter traffic solutions to help make Australia’s transportation infrastructure smarter, improve commuter experiences and reduce environmental impact.

IBM recently surveyed over 1,500 commuters across Australia’s key metropolitan cities to examine differences in commuting patterns and the effects roadway traffic has on work, university and school performance as well as a person’s health and lifestyle. The Commuter Pain Index concluded that as many as 81 per cent of drivers experience travel stress. Much of this could be reduced by better incorporating the use of technology in the management of traffic flows and more flexibility in the way we approach work.

IBM will provide the STRC with software and the expertise it has gained solving similar transport problems around the world. These assets and best practice will be used to  develop a blueprint to tackle transport problems in Brisbane, with a series of practical, research-based solutions to reduce congestion.  Proven solutions for Queensland will then be scaled and extended to the rest of Australia.  The projects include research into predictive routes to allow people to plan the easiest way to their destination using real-time information, congestion reduction to minimise traffic queues, strategies for equitable road-use and smarter technology to dynamicly manage special purpose lanes to optimise public transport. To date, IBM has contributed consulting time from its global business services team, to help develop the concept of the STRC and define its intended program of work. 

Catherine Caruana-McManus, Smarter Cities Executive, IBM Australia said, “IBM’s recent Commuter Pain Index highlighted a growing problem in Australia. Clearly our transport infrastructure is not keeping pace with commuter needs, nor is it supporting our economic growth effectively. Around the world we have learnt that the answer is not necessarily to build more infrastructure, but to make existing infrastructure smarter.”

“Through today’s STRC collaboration we have a unique opportunity to apply technology in new and innovative ways. We are proud to be involved with the STRC and to help Brisbane take the lead in addressing national transport concerns. Building in intelligence and inter-connectedness will enable us to predict demand and optimise transport infrastructure more accurately – and looking to solutions such as smart tolling and real-time travel updates will create a more positive and productive commuter experience,” concluded Caruana-McManus. 

The Centre has already brought together more than ten researchers in traffic management, as well as launch partners QUT, Queensland Government, Queensland Motorways, IBM, QCIF, Thales, Brisbane Airport, Griffith University and The University of Queensland. 

QUT Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering Executive Dean, Professor Martin Betts, said, “IBM brings its deep global expertise in building smarter transportation systems around the world to the table. We know technology needs to play a central role in traffic management strategies and we anticipate our research in South-East Queensland’s transport networks will bring us one step closer to solving Australia’s transport dilemma.” 

IBM is working with cities, governments and others around the world to make their transportation systems smarter. For example, consultants and software and technology specialists are assisting the Finnish Transport Agency, Brisbane, London, Singapore and Stockholm, among others, to address traffic management and congestion challenges. Smarter traffic systems can help traffic and public transit systems flow more smoothly, anticipate congestion and improve it in advance, reduce emissions and increase the capacity of infrastructure. 

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For more information on IBM’s Commuter Pain Study please visit
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