04 Nov Red Lights For Emergency Vehicles
Imagine someone you know is in need of an ambulance. When the ambulance is dispatched, they approach intersections with their lights flashing and their sirens blaring, but if the light is red, they still must cautiously approach to be sure they are safe to run the red. On very busy roads and in areas where there are obstacles like buildings and other traffic, cars may be unaware of the approaching ambulance. The danger of intersections slows down response times and in a life or death situation, every second is crucial.
Between 1992-2011 (20 years), there were an annual estimated mean of 4,500 motor vehicle traffic crashes involving an ambulance, and about 43% of the crashes in 2010 occurred where two or more roads cross. One way to solve this is to give the ambulance dispatchers the ability to turn the lights red the whole way along the route as the emergency vehicle travels through those intersections. If they are going to travel more than a kilometer, then simply turn the lights red in 1/2 kilometer increments. Dispatch can use GPS to track the progress and ensure a fast response time.
This idea will not require any new lights but will require some additional training, software and possibly new switches, but the money will be recouped via lower overall medical bills and lower repair costs due to traffic incidents while responding to emergencies.