Traffic technology group SWARCO has fitted all 114 traffic lights and intersections in Ludwigsburg with Cohda’s MK5 V2X Road-Side Units which correspond with the equivalent MK5 On-Board Units in fire trucks and rescue vehicles to grant them green-light passage en route to emergencies, when every second counts.
The MK5 units exchange information directly with approaching vehicles using DSRC standardised radio for V2X. The ACTROS control units of the traffic lights were equipped with the necessary program, which automatically prioritises the fire engines as they pass through.
The system works by sending messages relaying position and speed, several times per second, from emergency vehicles to a traffic light controller. There, the signals are processed and compared with the scenarios stored in the programming. If the system detects an approaching emergency vehicle, the programmed signal sequence is started and the traffic light controller switches to the prioritisation program.
Once the firefighters have passed the intersection, the traffic light controller switches back to normal as quickly as possible to minimize impact on road traffic and traffic disturbance.
“V2X technology improves safety on our roads and is usually applied to help reduce injury and death. This initiative demonstrates the versatility of the technology,” said Dr Paul Gray, CEO of Cohda Wireless. “In this instance, it is being applied to support emergency services in responding to incidents and accidents that have already happened, thereby also saving lives.”
This is a first full practical application of V2X in Germany, says Ludwigsburg's mayor Dr Matthias Knecht. "A primary goal of our mobility concept is to optimize the traffic flow. To achieve this, we also rely on intelligent traffic light systems," said Dr Knecht. "SWARCO's technology for prioritising emergency vehicles of the fire brigade is an excellent example for this - because in an emergency every second counts, of course. Together with the city of Ludwigsburg, SWARCO has developed this innovative technology and brought it to the streets.”