Evaluation of the Emergency Vehicle Priority System on the Sunshine Coast

Truasheim, Nathanael (2017) Evaluation of the Emergency Vehicle Priority System on the Sunshine Coast. [USQ Project]


An emergency can be defined as a 'situation requiring immediate action' (Queensland Ambulance Services, 1995). In modern society this action often involves navigation through a traffic network by trained professionals to administer assistance. With ever increasing populations and congestion, coupled with aging transport infrastructure, there is a need to find means of providing emergency response professionals with prioritised access through a traffic network. This need has led to the development of emergency vehicle priority (EVP) systems.

Current methods of EVP throughout Australia exist in the form of special road rules which allow the operators of emergency vehicles, and sometime general road users, to disregard all other road rules in certain emergency situations. This form of EVP is not without risk however, particularly at signalised intersections where disregarding the traffic signal being displayed creates conflicts amongst drivers. The STREAMS EVP system aims to address this issue by providing emergency vehicles with forced Green signals and holding all conflicting approaches, even outside of standard phasing. The system aims to not only improve road safety for all users, but also lower emergency response times.

To evaluate the current performance of the STREAMS EVP system on the Sunshine Coast, a pseudo ‘with and without’ study was performed to investigate the systems effect on general road safety, and emergency vehicle travel times. The evaluation analysed GPS data for emergency vehicles responding to emergencies during May 2017 along Nicklin Way acting under lights and sirens. The current coverage of the STREAMS EVP system was also investigated to ensure that the systems is being utilised where it is most needed.

It was found that road safety has been improved for all road users through eliminating more than half of the potential vehicle conflicts introduced when an emergency vehicle is forced to traverses a signalised intersection against a Red signal using Nicklin Way. The introduction of the STREAMS EVP system has enabled emergency vehicles to maintain 4.3-9.9% higher intersection traversal speeds for arterial through movements. Additionally, on each occasion that a Red signal that is forces to a Green signal for an emergency vehicle, intersection traversal time is lowered by 3 – 13 seconds depending on the movement attempted. Coverage analysis identified key intersections and corridors which should be prioritised for STREAMS EVP installation. These intersections and corridors were identified through investigation of the local region, historic emergency vehicle activity and information gathered through the crash analysis.

It is acknowledged that the ultimate control of the emergency vehicles is with the trained professionals who drive them, and further research should investigate the systems performance on non-arterial roads to gain a wider understanding of the STREAMS EVP systems’ impact on the Sunshine Coast.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Drysdale, Trevor
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 03:28
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2022 03:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: emergency vehicle priority (EVP) systems; risk; evaluation
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/40826

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