IBM's Smarter Traveler Predicts the When, Where and How Long of Your Commute Automatically

Unless your morning routine is as predictable as Bill Murray's in Groundhog Day, chances are you don't catch the traffic report every morning, and even when you do, it's not tailored specifically for your commute. IBM's new Smart Traveler system takes care of that problem and then some for those of us who are a bit more sporadic in the AM.

Smart Traveler, developed jointly by IBM, Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) and UC Berkeley, is designed to personalize traffic update service to lower the amount of time commuters are stuck in entirely avoidable gridlock.


Here's how it works: once a user opts into the program, their every movement is tracked by the system (making the opt in rather a big deal). After a few weeks, enough data has been gathered about your typical commute to and from common destinations for Smart Traveler to send you an email or SMS before you leave for work or school. Getting the message to you before you're in the car has the collateral benefit of not distracting you while you're behind the wheel. The message will contain only information relevant to the route you most commonly take for the commute you're about to begin.

Smart Traveler was designed for and is currently implemented by educators in the Bay Area, but there is nothing unique to that area that would stop the technology from being used elsewhere. While not everyone will be comfortable with all of their travel being tracked and analyzed in the name of getting a leg up on their morning drive, we're sure that plenty of commuters in particularly congested metropolitan areas would be more than happy to make the trade. [IBM via Engadget]



This is interesting because I know that my R-class Mercedes (along with a load of other cars with GPS systems like BMW) also has something similar to this built into its GPS where it calculates the time it will take relative to the speed you're driving and the distance you are from the destination. The only difference I can think of is that it doesn't take account traffic beforehand because it's not connected to a central traffic system online; however, it does adjust accordingly automatically, and it's still quite pretty accurate.

Can anyone inform me on this?