Big Data Helps City of Dublin Improve its Public Bus Transportation Network and Reduce Congestion

 Big Data Helps City of Dublin Improve its Public Bus Transportation Network
                            and Reduce Congestion

Irish city is a test bed for Smarter Cities research using real-time data from
its road and transport systems

PR Newswire

DUBLIN, May 17, 2013

DUBLIN, May 17,2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced it is
helping the City of Dublin use Big Data to identify and solve the root causes
of traffic congestion in its public transport network throughout the city,
which means improved traffic flow and better mobility for commuters.
Integrating data from a citywide network of sensors with geospatial data means
that city officials are able to better monitor and manage traffic in real


The Dublin City Council (DCC) delivers housing, water and transport services
to 1.2 million citizens across the Irish capital. To keep the city moving, the
council's traffic control center works together with local transport operators
to manage an extensive network of roads, tramways and bus lanes.

In a collaboration with IBM researchers, its road and traffic department is
now able to combine Big Data streaming in from an array of sources – bus
timetables, inductive-loop traffic detectors, and closed-circuit television
cameras, GPS updates that each of the city's 1,000 buses transmits every 20
seconds – and build a digital map of the city overlaid with the real-time
positions of Dublin's buses using stream computing and geospatial data.

Traffic controllers can now see the current status of the entire bus network
at a glance and rapidly spot and drill down into a detailed visualization of
areas of the network that are experiencing delay. These insights and the
interface allow visualization of the data give them an opportunity to identify
the cause of the delay as it is emerging and before it moves further
downstream. This approach can accelerate the decision-making process to clear
congestion more swiftly.

Additionally with improved reporting now in place, the data can help the city
identify the optimal traffic-calming measures to reduce congestion. It can
also help answer questions such as whether the bus line start times are
correct or the best place to add additional bus lanes and bus-only traffic

For example, using advanced analytics on data collected on each bus' journey
showed that some buses were being passed on route by buses that departed at a
later time during rush hour. Now, IBM researchers, the DCC and city bus
operators are working to pinpoint why the distance or time between buses, also
know as headways, are diverging in this manner and what measures can be
quickly put into action that will improve traffic flow at these specific peak

"Until recently we had a fragmented view of the overall health and real-time
status of Dublin's transport network, making it very difficult to identify
traffic congestion in its early stages because the causes of a delay had often
moved on," said Brendan O'Brien, Head of Technical Services, Roads and Traffic
Department at Dublin City Council. "As a result of the research collaboration
we now have a better idea of how multiple data can be merged from across
different sources and the IBM Research prototypes show what can be achieved in
this area."

Based on the success of the use of data from the city's bus fleet, DCC and IBM
Research are engaged in additional projects to look at how traffic control can
be assisted and congestion eased in the city. These projects include:
integrating meteorological data into the traffic control centre so operators
can take prescriptive actions to reduce extreme weather conditions impact on
commuters and a predictive analytics solution combining data from the city's
tram network with electronic docks for the city's free bicycle scheme.

This effort is part of a unique collaboration between IBM and Dublin City
Council that began in 2010. As a part of Dublin's effort to becoming a leading
Smarter City through its embrace of technology to stimulate economic activity
and meet the challenges of a globally competitive city for the future, it
shares data generated by city services, such as transportation and its
operational expertise running the city with IBM researchers. The IBM Research
lab in Dublin focuses on cities and advancing science and technology for
intelligent urban and environmental systems through Big Data, analytics and

"Constantly in motion, cities generate enormous amounts of data that can help
officials deliver a better quality of life for its citizens and build
competitive advantage with the right tools," said Dr. Francesco Calabrese,
Research Manager, Smarter Urban Dynamics, IBM Research - Dublin. "Dublin is
becoming a smarter city by harnessing Big Data, extracting actionable insights
from its transport data and delivering these instantly to decision makers so
they can improve traffic flow and awareness of how to prepare for their future
transportation need."

Using Big Data analytics techniques, the new Vehicle Awareness and Prediction
feature, which is based on IBM InfoSphere Streams and developed by IBM
Research, is now part of IBM Intelligent Operation Center's Intelligent
Transportation solution. IBM's software solutions for cities draw on
experience gained from Smarter Cities projects with cities around the world.
IBM InfoSphere Streams software, part of IBM's Big Data platform, can analyze
and share data in motion, providing real-time decision making in environments
where thousands of decisions can be made every second.

For more information on IBM Smarter Cities, visit Follow us on Twitter @IBMTransport and

Sara Delekta Galligan
IBM Media Relations (US)

Jim O'Keeffe
IBM Media Relations (Ireland)


Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.