Traffic lights can be tricky in a real emergency. If the light is red, emergency vehicles lose precious time moving slowly and carefully through the intersection. But a pilot program and partnership between the City of Dunwoody and DeKalb County could make a big difference.
The Glance Priority and Preemption System by Applied Information is designed to give fire trucks the green light when responding to a 911 call. It makes it easier and safer for emergency vehicles by bringing all other traffic safely to a halt.
Special preemption equipment has been installed in two trucks at DeKalb County Fire Station 18 on Barclay Drive behind Peachtree Charter Middle School. Corresponding equipment has also been placed inside the signal cabinets at two intersections: Peeler Road at North Peachtree Road and Tilly Mill Road at North Peachtree Road.
The system works by letting the trucks and signals essentially talk to one another using GPS and cellular technology. As a fire truck on an emergency call approaches the intersection, the equipment on the truck sends a message to the lights that it’s coming.
If the light is red, the signal will cycle through and turn green in time to allow the truck to move safely through the intersection without slowing or waiting.
“We are pleased that DeKalb County Fire Rescue has partnered with the City of Dunwoody to enhance safety at these busy intersections and reduce emergency response time,” said Dunwoody Public Works Director Michael Smith.
The City of Dunwoody paid for the signal cabinet equipment, which costs about $5,000 per signal. DeKalb County picked up the cost of the truck equipment, which runs about $2,500 per vehicle.
Dunwoody is looking to install the equipment at a couple of other signals in the Perimeter area soon. The City will analyze the impact of this pilot program in exploring whether it can be expanded further.