By Paul Hemsley
Emergency vehicles in Queensland will soon be able to make traffic lights go green on approach after Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Scott Emerson announced the rollout of a new sensing technology intended to cut through congestion and reduce the risk of accidents.
Known as the Emergency Vehicle Priority (EVP), the technology will have traffic lights fitted with special detectors that give vehicles using sirens a clearer path to save valuable time en-route to jobs.
A key feature of the new system is that it identifies approaching emergency vehicles by detecting the blaring sound of their sirens and then adjusts the traffic signals if the vehicle changes its course.
The Queensland government has now pushed the technology into a live-trial phase from mid-November at Southport that will be conducted between the Department of Emergency Services, Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Police and Gold Coast City Council.
The Southport tests follow smaller EVP trials undertaken in Bundaberg in 2008 that indicated emergency response time savings of up to 20 per cent.
Mr Emerson said the technology will give paramedics and firefighters “precious extra minutes” to save lives.
The shaving of minutes from response times for emergency workers like Ambulance crews is especially beneficial in scenarios like heart attacks when there is a critical window of time during which patients need to be stabilised and treated to both greatly improve their chances of survival and limit permanent injury.
Minister for Police and Community Safety, Jack Dempsey said the EVP system will help manage Queensland’s growing traffic congestion so officers and paramedics can respond “in the quickest possible time”.
“We want to be sure the emergency support systems used in Queensland are the best and safest available with results of the trial to be assessed next year,” Mr Dempsey said
Gold Coast City Council Mayor, Tom Tate said a public education campaign about the changes will accompany the trial’s introduction.
Mr Tate said the council has worked with the state government to implement the system to be installed on council-owned traffic signals in Southport.
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