Are we gridlocked yet? The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team met on Sunday for the first time and began to discuss the plan of attack for our transportation project. The next day we had a kick-off meeting with the Mayor and key stakeholders, after which we began our interviews with some of the key stakeholders. Traffic being such a big issue in Baton Rouge means that there are many stakeholders and unfortunately we will not be able to meet with all of them. On Monday AM, we all left in a van expecting to be caught in bad traffic only to sail from our lodging to the city offices. We arrived to a large conference room with amazing views of the Mississippi river and Interstate 10 (one of the major choke-holds in Baton Rouge). We did finally see traffic backing up on Interstate 10 that afternoon but we are still looking forward to our “gridlock” tour that we are planning for later in the week. I never imagined that I would actively look for traffic jams as part of my job.
The team is very thankful to all the stakeholders we have interviewed about the cause of the traffic problems, the obstacles to addressing them and learning about their priorities. We have gotten varied answers but have learned a lot from all of them. We have also taken every opportunity to interact with Baton Rouge citizens and ask them their opinion of traffic. Everyone has been so gracious and, of course, has an opinion on the topic. Look for us in your next traffic jam – you never know! Thank you Baton Rouge for being so hospitable to us everywhere we go. What are your thoughts on the traffic issue?