French public transport company Veolia Transdev and IBM have announced that they are jointly developing a smarter mobility solution. The first application is being piloted in the Lyon, the second largest metropolitan area in France, as part of the city’s Optimod’Lyon project.
The collaboration brings together Veolia Transdev’s public transit industry capabilities with IBM’s expertise in big data and advanced analytics. The aim is to help cities reduce road congestion and optimise transportation infrastructure by connecting services across all of their transportation networks, including subways, trams, buses, cars and bicycle traffic and more. Optimod'Lyon will test and validate new services.
Using the solution, cities will be able to simplify the management of complicated public transit networks and make better use of existing infrastructure. The solution will also enable them to build intelligence into its existing transport infrastructure to help anticipate and plan for future transit issues. It’s one way to reduce pollution linked to road congestion, increase public transit revenue for investment in new projects to improve quality of life for citizens and reduce costs associated with the creation of new transport infrastructures.
Travellers will have access to real-time information on traffic to enable a more seamless, multi-mode transportation experience, for instance combining bicycle, vehicle and public transit. The service uses predictive analytics, which can help bypass transport problems by providing details about the location and interconnections of alternative transportation options. (There’s a video from the Optimod’Lyon project of how it might work here)
IBM has put a great deal of effort into its smart cities programme and this is another transport-related step along the way. Europe must be a significant market for such solutions, given the level of public transport use.
There’s certainly the capability of smart city solutions to help cities run more efficiently. That has the added impact of reducing carbon emissions, particularly through more efficient public transport. But much of the effort seems to be about the better management of resources for more and more people living and working in large conurbations. I can’t help wondering if that can be sustainable in the long term. It may be smart, but will it save the planet?