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Hamilton considers technology that allows emergency vehicles to bypass traffic signals - Hamilton | Globalnews ca

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Posted July 6, 2023 7:22 pm

Hamilton's transportation division is seeking a study on emergency vehicle pre-emption, or EVP, technology to allow fire trucks and ambulances to get through busy intersections quicker. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

As many major traffic corridors in Hamilton, Ont., see safety adjustments and changes for an incoming Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, the city is looking at technology to ensure ambulances and fire trucks can navigate through potentially congested streets.

Emergency Vehicle Pre-emption (EVP) is now being studied by city staff who are assessing the merits of the tech allowing emergency vehicles to override normal traffic light operations by switching them from red to green or vice versa.

“When they approach a signalized intersection, the vehicle sends a signal which tells the traffic signal in the intersection that they are coming and change the signal … to a colour in their favour,” Director of Transportation Operations Mike Field explained.

That short-range radio control allows emergency crews to efficiently pass through intersections, cutting call times and reducing the risk of a crash.

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A similar concept has been employed for years across a number of major cities in the form of controls for fire station exits, allowing fire vehicles to pass through signals unhindered when needed.

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Burlington and Mississauga have their own versions of the concept while Winnipeg has put out proposals for a contractor to take on a one-year EVP pilot project.

Field says parts of the lower city would be the initial target for EVP installation due to the likelihood of increased traffic disruptions during the construction of the LRT.

However, he also sees benefits in implementing it city-wide.

With the proposal in its “infancy,” the cost of the technology is unknown.

“There’s a whole bunch of options out there that could make EVP work, and each one of those options comes with a different cost,” Field said.

A report is expected to be presented to city councillors for consideration early in 2024.

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