IBM Marketing Fail

Photo courtesy of

‘Metro Fail’
courtesy of ‘Karon’

Hey guys! You know what I just learned today? WMATA uses IBM software to keep track of buses and trains, to make sure that the system is always safe and on time!

So you know what that means, right? IBM wants you to be sure to know that they share some of the credit for WMATA’s record of safety and punctuality. Just so we’re clear.

Full press release after the jump so you can share in the levity.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 07 Oct 2009: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), one of the busiest mass transportation systems in the United States, is using IBM (NYSE: IBM) software to monitor all of its buses, trains, and related equipment to know if and when they need to be repaired or replaced. By being able to see the exact condition and location of all of its assets, WMATA is able to ensure safe and on time service for millions of passengers each week.

IBM is helping WMATA manage all of its assets including more than 12,000 bus stops and train stations, 106 miles of track, 1144 rail cars, and 1500 buses. Beyond the transportation assets, WMATA uses the IBM software to properly maintain the 594 escalators and 275 elevators bringing passengers from the streets to the trains and buses. All of these parts of the transportation system — 267,000 in total for WMATA — can be tracked, monitored, and managed from a central control center using simple on-screen displays.

Smarter transportation systems, like WMATA, help improve safety and reliability, while reducing travel delays, emissions and fuel consumption across the city. The efficiency of WMATA is dependent on complete visibility across all its assets in order to provide safe and uninterrupted railway services. So once information is gathered from across the transportation system, the IBM software helps manage nearly 180,000 work orders each month. The system provides mechanics with suggested work plans for standard maintenance procedures to ensure that the equipment is repaired before it even breaks.

This level of preventative maintenance allows WMATA to improve maintenance procedures by integrating the overall work procedures with contract management, as well as monitor and manage the maintenance equipment. This will lower the operational maintenance cost while improving productivity and prolonging the life span of the equipment, and ultimately improving safety and reliability of its service.

Rail Leaders Embrace Global Collaboration

WMATA recently hosted Guangzhou Metro, a leading rail network from China, for a workshop to share best practices when building and maintaining smarter rail systems. Both organizations are using IBM Maximo software to improve the efficiency and safety of their transportation systems and took the opportunity to provide one another with ideas on how to best capitalize on this investment.

“Meeting with Guangzhou Metro provided us with a great opportunity to share best practices, and shows IBM’s dedication to the success of their clients around the world,” said Deven Sha, deputy IT chief, WMATA. “IBM is helping us provide passengers with higher quality service while allowing the maintenance teams better manage the complex process of keeping equipment in top shape.”

“Washington Metro manages one of the most complex transportation systems in the nation in terms of the volume of passengers and the number of trains, buses and other assets they need to monitor and maintain,” says Keith Dierkx, director, IBM Global Rail Innovation Center. “Washington D.C. certainly has its traffic congestion challenges so it’s outstanding to see WMATA use technology to provide citizens with safe and reliable mass transportation services.”

IBM is a leader in building smarter rail networks around the world including projects in China, The Netherlands, Russia, and Taiwan. Earlier this year IBM opened a Global Rail Innovation Center in Beijing in an effort to bring together rail leaders from around the world. Members of the new rail center share best practices and innovative approaches to building safer, faster and more efficient rail systems.

Beyond rail projects like the one with Washington Metro, IBM has researchers and consultants building intelligent transportation systems around the world in an effort to ease traffic congestion and improve environmental conditions. IBM has already helped build smarter transportation systems across Asia, Europe and in the United States.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Flickr 

2 thoughts on “IBM Marketing Fail

  1. well, the busses do work pretty well, and are apparently linked via radio or “magic” cause they always know my smartlink card has just been on a train. so: “IBM, good job on the busses!”