Thursday, January 22, 2009

IBM Smarter Planet: Traffic

IBM has been advertising on the New York Times site for its Smarter Planet program. There are several infomercials on interesting subjects (at least interesting to people like me) including food spoilage (in fact, that one goes very well with Michael Pollin's book Omnivore's Dilemma) and traffic congestion.

The traffic congestion film is short (30-seconds) and focuses on Copenhagen's congestion charging program. Of course the problem with congestion charging is not technological, but social ... people don't want to pay for something they view as having paid for and are used to getting for free. That's my criticism of the IBM program, they seem to underestimate the social aspect of introducing innovative new programs based on technology.

On the other hand, the Smarter Planet program looks like an effort to educate people and begin talking about the social factors that need to be addressed before programs like congestion pricing can be implemented. I think that the IBM Smarter Planet Copenhagen Congestion Charging Film should be shown during the Super Bowl rather than internet links from the NYT!

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