IBM is releasing a new simulation tool today aimed at helping elected officials understand things like whether obesity will cause increased energy prices, or if a subway fare hike will impact high school graduation rates or how taxes/fees collected will affect electricity consumption. The goal is to assist these elected officials assess the impact and benefits/consequences of different policies and different scenarios (the "what ifs") before they make decisions. Basically, via an interactive map, the model will analyze the relationships that exist among the city's core systems, including the economy, housing, education, public safety, transportation, healthcare/wellness, government services and utilities.

Follow John Moe at @johnmoe