Revolutionary traffic signal technology significantly improves emergency response times and citizen safety
NATIONAL CITY, CA — June 30, 2011 — National City is putting the safety of its citizens first — by giving emergency services vehicles top priority. The City recently installed state-of-the-art Opticom™ multimode signal priority equipment to enhance safety and provide more efficient traffic signal preemption and management.
National City has long advocated traffic signal preemption as a means to improve emergency response. Currently, more than 70 intersections are equipped with infrared (IR) signal priority technology, most of which are Opticom™ devices. This allows emergency responders to activate green lights en route to their destination. With the new multimode technology installed at eight intersections, traffic signals can be triggered using IR or global positioning system (GPS) activation technology for even more control and efficiency.
“The National City landscape is unique, with steep hills and winding roads,” said National City’s Mayor, Ron Morrison. “GPS allows our emergency responders to trigger green signals from significantly further distances away from intersections. It will enhance safety for our citizens and emergency responders. And it will help us save lives.”
The innovative technology allows staff to monitor Opticom™ equipped intersections remotely in “real-time” for more efficient system management. Its Central Management Software (CMS) offers remote monitoring capabilities to minimize the need for time-consuming trips to the intersections, which in turn reduces maintenance costs.
“Real-time data is the best piece of information you can give a traffic engineer,” said Stephen Manganiello, National City’s Traffic Engineer. “It allows us to be proactive by reviewing activity logs, running statistical reports and making adjustments to the system when necessary to enhance safety and operations. We have access to every preemption 24/7, which allows us to monitor the effectiveness of the system and streamline maintenance activities, saving time and money.”
The new multimode technology provides a significant advantage for implementing effective mutual aid strategies with nearby communities in San Diego County. Because Opticom™ incorporates both GPS and IR technologies, emergency responders from neighboring communities can still trigger the signal using their own IR activation equipment.
“We’re a smaller-sized city neighboring several populous communities,” said Frank Parra, National City’s Emergency Services Director. “As a result, mutual aid operations between communities is critical. With multimode technology, emergency responders from these communities can activate green signals and reach the scene faster and safer whether they use GPS or IR technology.”
Parra added that the National City Fire Department and Traffic Division are sharing signal priority best practices with neighboring communities to ensure seamless interoperability. Currently, only the City’s Fire Department is using the GPS technology. Plans are to eventually extend the technology to emergency medical services and the City’s Police Department. Potentially, transit services could also deploy multimode signal priority control to enhance their operations as well.
About National City
National City is located 5 miles south of downtown San Diego, on San Diego Bay in southern San Diego County, and 10 miles north of Baja California, Mexico. The City is densely populated with about 60,000 people in nine square miles. Centrally located within 20 minutes travel time for more than 1.4 million people, it’s a key transportation hub in the area. It’s nearly entirely developed with a mix of residential neighborhoods and industrial and commercial uses, including the Port of San Diego.
About Global Traffic Technologies (GTT)
Headquartered in St. Paul, MN, and building on a 40-year legacy of innovation, GTT delivers advanced traffic management solutions for the emergency, transit and traffic management markets. Its Opticom™ system is the most flexible and widely deployed priority control solution in the industry today, with an installed base of over 60,000 intersections in 1,500 municipalities around the world.
The public-private partnership between National City and GTT has resulted in an innovative and successful pilot program, which hopes to serve as a model for other communities to enhance emergency vehicle response and public safety.
Here is a PDF of the National City press release.