Lifestyle & Belief

Jakarta's gridlocked traffic can be fixed, says IBM Indonesia


Commuter vehicles queue in a gridlock during rush hour traffic in Jakarta on September 7, 2012. At least 1,000 new vehicles are added every day to the streets of Jakarta, where some eight million cars crawl through one of Asia's worst traffic jams every day, according to private and government studies.


Bay Ismoyo

Jakarta's gridlocked traffic can be fixed, says IBM Indonesia...and they think they know how. 

The capital of Southeast Asia's fourth most populous country needs the help of a technology-based systems to help manage its out-of-control traffic, IBM Indonesia director argues in an interview with the Jakarta Globe

“Now in Jakarta, distance is not relevant, the travel time is more relevant," Suryo told the Globe. "If you would like to have a three o’clock client meeting in Pacific Place, what time will you actually leave from the office? In the end you can be way too early or very late so it’s very difficult. A lot of unproductive time is spent on the road." 

IBM estimated that traffic caused the city to lose $1.3 billion in productivity in 2012, the Jakarta Globe reported. 

More from GlobalPost: Beware Indonesia's "road pirates"

The software company has been collaborating with governments to develop traffic solutions for some of the world's most clogged capitals. Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics, worked with IBM to install a control room where real-time data on conditions affecting the city is displayed, according to the Jakarta Globe. Davao, a city in the southern Philippines, installed a similar system.

In China, the bustling eastern city of Zhenjiang, population three million, has installed software that allows the city to predict traffic jams and make adjustments, like adding more bus routes, accordingly. 

Jakartans have long devised creative strategies to get around the traffic jams, including jockeys — people who charge a fee for traveling as a car's passenger in order to allow them into the city during rush hour — and motorcycle taxis to weave passengers through the standstill gridlock, BBC News reported