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3/6/2006
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Stockholm Taps Tech To Reduce Traffic Congestion

During the system's first month of operation, it prompted 25% of drivers, or 100,000 vehicles, off the roads during peak business hours, increasing mass transit users by 40,000 daily.

The city of Stockholm, Sweden, announced Monday initial results from a congestion pricing system designed to alleviate traffic, reduce pollution and increase the use of public transportation.

The Swedish National Road Administration, working in partnership with the city of Stockholm, manages the project and platform, which runs 12 hours daily beginning at 6:30 a.m. The maximum charge for one day is about $8.

Developed in collaboration with IBM Research and implemented by IBM Global Services, the Stockholm Project launched Jan. 3. During the first month in operation, it prompted 25 percent of drivers, or 100,000 vehicles, off the roads during peak business hours, increasing mass transit users by 40,000 daily.

IBM worked with city officers to develop business processes and technical operations for Stockholm, building the technology base on WebSphere software, servers and radio frequency identification technology. Drivers are asked to put radio frequency identification (RFID) transponders in their car to interact with roadside stations monitoring miles along city routes.

IBM Research developed recognition software to help with license plate recognition in varying light and angles. "If you can imagine that people would potentially try to subvert the system by not getting the RFID transponder, but the recognition software analyzes the entire image and searches for predefined patterns and symbols," said Jim Ruthven, worldwide business unit executive for Automotive Solutions Software group.

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