Best of the Blogs, Transportation: IBM Uses Social Media to Predict More Traveling Among Vacationers

By Christopher Witrak  MAY 24, 2012 5:05 PM

Plus, less traffic congestion in 2011 may indicate a weak economy.


This column highlights the most interesting and useful financial commentary on transportation from around the Web every Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal: Driver's Seat
Link: IBM Study: Expect More Memorial Day Drivers, Shoppers
"People in the U.S. are feeling better about the coming Memorial Day weekend than they did a year ago, according to an IBM (IBM) study. As a result they may have bigger travel and shopping plans for the unofficial kickoff of the summer road-trip and vacation season.

"Through an analysis of social media sentiment IBM found a significant increase in the number of people talking about travel and spending. The IBM Social Sentiment Index, uses analytics and language processing technology to identify and gather consumer opinions from Twitter, blogs, message boards and other social media."

The New York Times: Wheels
Link: Study: Smooth Traffic May Indicate a Sour Economy

"As much as motorists dislike traffic, a crowded road can mean deliveries are up, fuel prices are down and vacationers are spending money. Based on this conventional thinking, a decline in congestion may be indicative of an economy in shaky health.

"In its fifth annual Traffic Scorecard, Inrix, a traffic-data analysis service, reported a 30 percent drop in traffic congestion in the United States in 2011 over levels in 2010. The company gauges traffic conditions from municipal data and live traffic information from fleet vehicles, as well as navigation devices and users of traffic applications. According to its report, 70 of the country’s 100 most populated cities experienced an overall decrease in traffic congestion last year compared with 2010." Airline Biz Blog
Link: Judge denies APA request to speed up appeal
"US Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane on Thursday turned down the request of the Allied Pilots Association to let it take its appeal of a Lane decision directly to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The union had filed an adversarial proceeding three months earlier that sought to have Judge Lane declare that the APA collective bargaining agreement with American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK) had expired on May 1, 2008."

Link: More Mixed Traffic on U.S. Railroads, AAR Reports

"Rail traffic once again was mixed on reporting U.S. railroads in the week ending May 12, 2012, the Association of American Railroads (or AAR) said, as the lines originated 279,063 carloads, down 5.2% compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 238,980 trailers and containers, up 3.1% compared with the same week last year but down slightly from the previous week."

Link: More Americans paying their car loans on time

"Nearly everyone in America with a car loan is making the payment on time, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.

"A scant .36 percent of people with a car loan are 60 or more days behind on making their payment, according to a TransUnion report looking at the January through March quarter of auto loan payments. That means more than 99-percent of customers borrowing cash for cars are on time."

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
No positions in stocks mentioned.