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Friday, June 18, 2021

Emergency vehicles in Qatar get green light thanks to traffic sensors

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

To make it easier for ambulances to get through congestion in Qatar and improve their response times, some 80 key intersections across Doha have been fitted with new sensors that override traffic signals, giving emergency vehicles priority, the public works authority has announced.

The Emergency Vehicle Preemption System (EVPS) allows ambulances and Civil Defense trucks to “speak” to traffic lights as they approach them, from up to 1km away.

Traffic lights fitted with special GPS/radio antenna devices receive the signals emitted by the emergency vehicles that they are approaching, and give them a green light at intersections, while safely stopping traffic coming from other directions.

Ashghal has been rolling out the system in phases, and is currently testing its impact on the surrounding traffic before expanding its efforts.

Results

During the first stage, completed in April last year, 30 traffic signals were fitted with the sensors, while 15 ambulances and 10 civil defense vehicles were equipped with remote controller devices that emit a signal, warning the traffic light of its approach.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

These were focused in areas of high residential density where officials believe the vehicles can have the greatest impact on response times. The first signals to be fitted with the technology were on C-Ring Road, Al Matar Street, D-Ring Road, the Corniche and Majlis Al Taawon Street.

Over the past year, a further 50 signals have since been added to the system to key routes such as Salwa Road, Al Waab Street and Al Jamiaa Street, although currently the number of emergency vehicles with the devices has not yet been increased.

An Ashghal spokeswoman told Doha News that the system is still being monitored and that more vehicles may be included in the future.

As the system is further developed, Ministry of Interior vehicles and some public transport vehicles may also be fitted with the equipment, Ashghal added in a statement.

How it works

The system is controlled through software that allows the performance of the sensors and units to be monitored. The software also assesses the knock-on effects to traffic flow across the capital, particularly during rush hour periods.

Emergency Vehicle Pre-emption System
Emergency Vehicle Pre-emption System

Emergency vehicle drivers are also being trained in how to use the system and its effectiveness is being monitored by a committee of officials from Ashghal, the General Directorate of Civil Defense and Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC), which will also advise on how it can usefully be expanded.

Yousef Al Emadi, Director of Roads Maintenance at Ashghal, said in a statement that the system would reduce the time it takes to respond to emergency situations and reduce the possibility of emergency vehicles accidents.

In areas which do not have the new technology, emergency vehicles can often get stuck in lines of traffic, behind cars and trucks that are unable to move out of the way in Qatar’s increasingly congested streets.

Response times

Last year, HMC said it had had 70 emergency ambulances and 18 non-emergency ambulances in service at peak times. It also has two 24-hour helicopter ambulances and up to 22 rapid response vehicles staffed by, for example, supervisors and critical care paramedics.

Monitoring of EVPS
Monitoring of EVPS

HMC’s emergency services branch employs some 1,800 individuals, the majority of whom are front-line paramedics and responders, the local health institution said.

The country’s primary health-care provider said in early 2013 that the response time of its Ambulance Service has improved over the previous year, from 11 minutes to eight minutes within Doha city limits.

To further cut down on response time, HMC last year launched its “help us help you” campaign, in a bid to encourage more drivers to move out of the way when they see emergency vehicles approaching.

Thoughts?

23 COMMENTS

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AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Now if they could just do that for buses we might be able to start moving some people around.

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

And for LCs please :)))

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

I actually like that idea = separate “Q-lanes” for Qataris and public transport. Everything would start moving much quicker if you gave that combination priority.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

yes plz & i will pay the fees just like SALIK in DUBAI

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

But that is open to anyone who’ll pay. I’d be keen for Q-plates and Q-lanes for buses and Qatari only. And then buses and public transport get right of way. More motivation for everyone else to get out of the car. Would speed up the remaining traffic faster.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

And I don’t think Qatari should have to pay.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

no , lets pay, else some ppl will be jealous . & they will start with the hate comments on DN
LOL

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Well the advantage of that would be you could manage demand by increasing price but it doesn’t make much sense to me if the overall objective is to move people around faster. There just aren’t that many Qataris. Why should they pay when they own the roads anyway. If you give them and buses their own lane and everyone else is stuck in traffic you quickly motivate people to get on a bus – ideally one that has free espresso & wifi. Let the Qatari drive all they want – I’d prefer to relax.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.” ― Gustavo Petro

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

so personal drivers dont count ??

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Nope – that’s just more 3rd world traffic jams

Muhammedh Naufer
Muhammedh Naufer
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Good point… I would love to come to work via the subway… No more parking hassle :D!

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

What public transport? Karwa? Are you serious?

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

I was thinking something more like this…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75F3CSZcCFs

hexa
hexa
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

I do actually wonder if someone got hold of that system for his private car. I’ve seen a certain traffic light behave on two different mornings as if an ambulance with that sytem installed was approaching. But no ambulance was nearby.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

It’s the right thing to do so they can get to emergencies quicker but the downside will be more accidents with the ‘followers’. Those idiots who think they are clever by closely following an ambluance through the traffic when everyone else gives way.

Expat77
Expat77
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Those who follow emergency vehicles should be monitored thru Traffic cams and should be fined 3 to 4 times the fine of jumping redlight.

Muhammedh Naufer
Muhammedh Naufer
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat77

If you ask me, should seize their license for like one month, till they regret not having a vehicle for their daily errands.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

they should be fined a couple of thousand riyal.
was so frustrating recently when i moved a side to let an ambulance through only to have the guy behind me try to “over take” me when we were stuck in a red light…I couldnt move and he couldnt over take because there wasnt enough space on the other side!! annoys me just thinking about it!

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

automated machine gun mounted on rear of ambo?

Peter Parker
Peter Parker
6 years ago

This technology – and certain sets of Doha traffic lights to interpret it – has been installed in a number of Royal/State cars for the thick end of a decade now. So, once again, Qatar demonstrates where its priorities lie: Get a minor Al Thani back from Burgeri before their take away gets cold – priority. Get critically injured patient to ER – less so.

qatari
qatari
6 years ago
Reply to  Peter Parker

what you say is just stupid . what about the helicopter ambulances , stop being jealous & spreading your hate

Peter Parker
Peter Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Helicopters use traffic lights? I never knew that.

Engaging in ‘whataboutery’ only serves to expose your inability to construct an argument – and your own stupidity…

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