Wireless Applications

iCarpool.com Wins Traffic Congestion Challenge

September 24, 2009

ITS America, IBM, Spencer Trask & Partners announce the winner in the global ITS Congestion Challenge, designed to find the best ideas to reduce traffic congestion.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI), and partners announced the results of the ITS Congestion Challenge, a global competition to find the best ideas for reducing traffic congestion.

The three organizations, sponsors of the challenge, announced the selection of iCarpool.com at the 16th World Congress of ITS in Stockholm. iCarpool.com, headquartered in Issaquah, WA, won the competition among more than 116 entries from 20 countries. The organization will receive a cash investment of $50,000 USD, which will be used for further development of its solution.

iCarpool provides commuters and other travelers with comprehensive travel choices for modes of travel other than driving alone. In addition, iCarpool empowers regional agencies, state DOTs, city jurisdictions and employers to mitigate traffic congestion by providing necessary tools to influence a behavior shift from driving alone. The tools include program tracking and reporting, incentive management, and commuter services such as guaranteed ride home and bike lockers. The solution helps travelers with all their trips—commute, personal, events, long distance trips and real-time trips. iCarpool is currently building infrastructure to provide one multimodal view of all the travel options available, associated costs, time taken, carbon footprint, and more.

"We hope this win will bring increased attention to the work we do," said Lakshmi Krishnamurthy, founder, iCarpool.com. "In the last twelve months, iCarpool users have recorded over 10 million miles using alternative modes and saved over 10 million pounds of CO2 emissions. Regional agencies, city jurisdictions and employers across the globe can take advantage of our solution today to achieve great results in mitigating traffic congestion and related environmental issues."

The first global ITS Congestion Challenge, announced in June, was open to entrepreneurs, commuters, transportation experts, researchers in all fields, universities, and citizens around the world. iCarpool.com was one of nine finalists, from Hungary, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States, selected by an open global community of more than 4,000 people, including transportation industry professionals and the general public.

The other finalists in the ITS Congestion Challenge were:

  • Avego Ltd., for development efforts on a "dynamic ride sharing" offering that uses wireless network technology to match drivers and riders, thereby filling empty car seats, unlocking excess capacity, and reducing congested roads.

  • BroadBit Inc., for a solution for enhancing traffic flows by eliminating unnecessary lane changes and allowing travel on hard shoulder surfaces during peak hours.

  • FuelClinic, for their "Eco-System" and "Eco-Driver On Board" programs, which provide tools and certified eco-driving training to improve, track, and manage driver performance for increased fuel efficiency, increased driver safety, and reduced accident rates.

  • The Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge, a demonstration of how cooperative driving systems, which provide vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, can reduce the incidence of traffic jams, minimize CO2 emissions and prevent accidents on the road. These systems offer drivers and road authorities more information about vehicles, their location, their intention and the road conditions.

  • iCone Products, LLC., for an ITS concept to beam real-time traffic information over the Internet to a central web site for use by government officials, emergency response personnel, trucking fleets, the public and information resellers, including media outlets and GPS services like Garmin. The iCone device marks and monitors highway work-zones so that the conditions at every work-zone can be known to the traveling public.

  • Intellione Technologies Corp., for a solution that turns mobile handsets into potential traffic probes that can deliver data to solve traffic congestion. Using Intellione's patented algorithms, transportation agencies can see how their roads are performing, address safety issues, and plan where to make their capital infrastructure investments to augment performance. Drivers can see where traffic congestion is occurring in real time and know their travel time and make a choice to take an alternate route.

  • Precyse Technologies Inc., for a wireless-based system that uses RFID tags to locate, identify, monitor and communicate with cars on the road. Through a wireless communication network, drivers can get real-time traffic data, send distress signals for emergency services, and even report low engine oil levels when stopping at a gas station, without the need to install anything new in the car.

  • Skymeter Corp., for a GPS tolling system that can price reliably in multiple countries using different currencies.

All entries in the ITS Congestion Challenge were reviewed and rated using an web-based evaluation tool by Vencorps using five criteria: speed and efficiency of their solutions, behavioral impact, safety, sustainability, and economic competitiveness.

"Traffic congestion is taking a heavy toll on drivers, city infrastructures, and the environment," said Scott Belcher, president and CEO, ITS America. "Sustainable solutions will require innovative ideas, best practices and public and private partnerships in all fields and from all countries. That's why ITS America, IBM, Spencer Trask and a number of supporting organizations developed the ITS Congestion Challenge. We are grateful for the support we received from many organizational sponsors. The terrific solutions that surfaced will be important components in addressing the traffic congestion crisis."

About ITS America
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) was established in 1991 as a not-for-profit organization to foster the use of advanced technologies in surface transportation systems. It is a leading advocate for technologies that improve the safety, security and efficiency of the U.S. surface transportation system. Members include private corporations, public agencies, and academic institutions involved in the research, development and design of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and technologies to enhance safety, increase mobility, and sustain the environment. Click here to view a video on the ITS Congestion Challenge.

About IBM
IBM is building intelligent transportation systems around the world to help cities manage traffic congestion, improve urban environmental conditions and increase economic competitiveness. These systems leverage business consulting, advanced transportation analytics, research, supercomputing and new sensor networks. Recent projects include smart transportation initiatives in China, The Netherlands, Stockholm, Brisbane, Singapore, Dublin, London and Russia.

About Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations
Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI) Inc. helps organizations fundamentally change the way they do business by embracing global, interconnected communities of intelligent, imaginative and innovative people. By channeling the raw power of human intelligence and creativity in more efficient ways, STCI clients seize market opportunities, create business value and drive positive societal change. The STCI ecosystem enables clients to develop and bring to market new products and services that are precisely aligned to the dynamic timing and current and real needs of both the public and private sectors.

Spencer Trask is a leading collaborative private equity venture firm. Its network of co-investors and business leaders provides visionary entrepreneurs with financial, market and intellectual capital.

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