IBM: Let’s Build a Smarter Planet With Congestion Pricing!

IBM launched its "Build a Smarter Planet" campaign to highlight its role in using technology to solve many of the world’s problems.  One of their most recent ads highlights and brags about the computer giant’s role in bringing congestion pricing, or as it terms it "smart tolling," to European cities.

After spending a year watching Metro try and figure out the best way to qualify for a federal congestion pricing grant without changing the way people commute during rush hour, it’s refreshing to see a commercial boldly and forcefully make the case that we need to manage traffic better.  IBM makes the case that Metro wouldn’t when discussing the history of congestion pricing and it’s effect on traffic: In Stockholm, when smart tolling was applied, gridlock fell by 20%.  In London, traffic in the urban core was reduced to levels not seen since the 1980’s.  Each plan, implemented with IBM Systems, charged a variable toll rate based on the amount of congestion.

Here in Los Angeles, our variable toll and congestion pricing plan, the so-called Fast-Lanes, doesn’t apply during rush hour, thus will have no effect on traffic patterns during the most congested parts of the day.

But hey, at least we’ll be able to see on tv the congestion reduction that we could have happened if our transportation leaders had the political will to back a true congestion pricing plan.

  • That would be a great boon to LA if we did this during Rush Hour.

    I’m surprised they didn’t put one down the 405, 101 and 5 freeways through the Santa Monica Mountain passes. Those tolls would help to fund more transit alternatives even elevated bikepaths and pedestrian paths for school children.

  • Rock Fossil

    The concept of building a smarter planet is sound in and of itself, however it all goes south when you turn it over to stupid people to run, not unlike the computer itself…..garbage in, garbage out. Perennial lip service from the corporate warlords-Madmen gone wild!!

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