Smarter Urban Dynamics - overview


As the world becomes more urbanized, cities have evolved into one of our most consummate and complex artifacts. As a result, urban transportation is facing a grand challenge that is often called sustainable mobility: devising more efficient and adaptive urban transportation systems necessary to accommodate urban dynamics while preserving and restoring the environment. Adding capacity through construction of new facilities within the city landscape is a very difficult endeavor due to space constraints and prohibitive costs. The general consensus is that congestion reduction is instead better addressed through Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) that leverage sensor networks, communications and computing technologies to manage existing infrastructure and transportation systems more efficiently. More recently, our growing reliance on smartphones and other pervasive technologies is producing a wealth of digital information extremely valuable to ITS systems because of its unprecedented level of spatiotemporal details about many aspects of our daily lives and in particular our travelling patterns. It also provides a medium through which it is possible to reach-out to the travellers and engage them in adopting the most efficient means of transport.

The Smarter Urban Dynamics (SUD) team at the IBM Research - Ireland focuses on developing analytics and tools to better understand and optimize the urban dynamics.

This team develops research around three areas:
  • Leveraging digital traces from mobile devices to gain an insight in why, how and when we travel. Using this information, mobility demand can be predicted and transport resource capacity accordingly allocated, offline or in real-time.
  • Leveraging the Transport Infrastructure and its applications in ITS analytics to ensure and maintain the desired level of quality of service to best accommodate the mobility demand both at a global level and down to individual travellers.
  • Instilling the travellers with an acute awareness of the transport infrastructure conditions, so that each can individually and confidently decide for a best travel strategy that is also collectively sustainable.