St. Charles County, MO


St. Charles County, MO


The county of St. Charles, Missouri, lies just west of the Missouri River. The population is nearly 410,000, making it the 3rd most populated county in Missouri. As the population in St. Charles County experiences continued growth, the county must adapt to the number of drivers on the roadways. With nearly 94% of households in Missouri having a vehicle and the average number of cars per household sitting at 2.3, roadway congestion is rising.

St. Charles County Ambulance District responded to 47,000 calls in 2021; this number continues to escalate as the community grows. When traveling to an emergency, first responders need clear roads to reach their destination efficiently and with less risk. The Gateway Green Light Program funded this deployment of Opticom to St. Charles County. The Gateway Green Light Program is a “cooperative effort to improve the coordination of traffic signals throughout St. Charles County. The program helps synchronize traffic signals on streets throughout the county, especially those that cross city limits. This reduces unnecessary delays, improves traffic flow, and cuts emissions that contribute to ozone pollution.” The integration of Opticom technology to St. Charles County was a long process working with various agencies. Communications for this project started in 2016 and the anticipation of growing traffic resulted in the final deployment of this technology.

The Challenge

The impacts of this congestion created problems for the first responder vehicle’s ability to arrive at emergencies quickly. When St. Charles County Police, Fire, and EMS agencies experience delays, it puts lives at risk. Every second counts and a clear roadway is vital for responders to do their jobs.

Opticom emergency vehicle preemption (EVP) allows vehicles to communicate with intersections and gives them priority to pass while holding cross traffic from side streets. This vehicle preemption technology is crucial for responders navigating busy roads.

Problems identified include

  • Improving response times of first responders on their way to emergencies
  • High-cost trips to update preemption technology in intersections
  • Inability to identify when and where their systems are down
  • With their previous model, St. Charles County departments could not quickly obtain data from their emergency vehicles

The Approach

The St. Charles County Emergency Vehicle Preemption deployment is the largest in the state, with 351 intersections and 200 vehicles enabled with cloud-based EVP. The project was a years-long effort that involved collaboration between agencies across the community, including numerous public safety and public works departments, St. Charles County, and MoDOT. Once approved, the first-of-its-kind, cloud-based architecture allowed for unique cost and time-saving applications.

The Results

GTT leveraged the county’s existing intersection infrastructure and vehicle hardware to enable EVP in the cloud. The Opticom Cloud Platform allowed technicians and project managers to configure 351 intersections in a fully remote environment. Historically, the on-site intersection install rate is two per day. With advanced technology, GTT partners at Traffic Control Cooperation (TCC) configured intersections at a rate of 150 per week. Additionally, Opticom EVP was remotely installed in two hundred first responder vehicles, including fire, EMS, and police.

The cost-saving aspect of this deployment was incredibly impactful for the county of St. Charles. The project did not have expenses for new hardware or peripherals to enable Opticom EVP at the intersection. No one was on-site for costly intersection installations; all programming and configuration of the technology was entirely remote. The quick turnaround resulted in labor cost savings of approximately 75% for St. Charles County. The St. Charles County, Manager of Roads and Traffic, Amanda Brauer, proudly touted this statistic.

“GTT used a highly consultative approach that supported our ability to collaborate across the various agencies involved. Because we could leverage our existing infrastructure and use a cloud-based application, this project resulted in cost savings for us and, ultimately, our constituents. We look forward to continuing to see the results of this advanced EVP solution.” said Amanda Brauer.

To view more details of the deployment, click here.

The benefits of using cloud-based system architecture span far beyond user cost savings. Utilizing the Opticom Cloud Platform gives agencies control of their solution:

  • No more costly trips to the intersection for updates. Remote updates, which provide access to new features quickly.
  • Time saved during deployments means agencies can focus on what matters most – arriving to emergencies rapidly and safely.
  • Improve system efficiency with data on demand. Data from vehicles and intersections is available immediately, enabling agencies to identify route improvement actions.
  • Quickly identify when systems are down so they can be fixed and back working ASAP. Users can also specify when their system is down and get the technology back up and working faster.

Cloud deployment is the future of preemptive technology. We stay ahead of the curve as the transportation industry evolves and grows. With remote installation and configuration, we are transforming the industry and cutting unnecessary costs for the customer. This technology has proven its ability to decrease arrival times and improve the lives of citizens. The benefits of cloud are clear, and the opportunities for improving the safety of our roads are endless.


Industry experts at your service.