June 20, 2007 By News Report
The IBM contract award includes implementing and running the congestion charging system in the City of Stockholm, based on the system used during the 2006 pilot. The decision follows the positive outcome of a public referendum that took place in September last year, which saw a majority of Stockholm citizens vote in favor of retaining the pioneering system.
According to Birger Höök, director of the Swedish Road Administration's traffic registry: "The Stockholm pilot was a success thanks to several factors including: effective public information; the IT system which functioned perfectly from day one; and the positive results of the pilot which were very obvious to Stockholm residents."
"Through the pilot, IBM helped establish that a technically elegant and flexible road charging system can be attractive to city dwellers and commuters alike. Its success, based on an innovative business model, is a landmark development for road charging. The environmental and traffic congestion effects of the Stockholm scheme, along with the successful implementation, is certain to have a major influence on many other cities considering road charging schemes," says Jamie Houghton, global road user charging leader, IBM.
The Stockholm system is the largest of its kind in Europe, with 18 barrier-free control points around the charging zone equipped with cameras and a beacon system to identify vehicles and provide evidence to support the enforcement of non-payers. Payment channels include automatic direct debit, a Giro system at banks, over the Internet, and at retail stores such as 7-11.
IBM is investing in innovative solutions for the growing international road charging market, blending skills and innovation in road charging business operations, on-board and roadside equipment, wireless communications, multiple payment channels and other value added services.
Photo Stockholm Tunnelbana, by Stern. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.