Title page for ETD etd-03132002-072311


Type of Document Dissertation
Author McHale, Gene Michael
Author's Email Address gmchale@vt.edu
URN etd-03132002-072311
Title An Assessment Methodology for Emergency Vehicle Traffic Signal Priority Systems
Degree PhD
Department Civil Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Collura, John Committee Chair
Hobeika, Antoine G. Committee Member
Lieu, Henry Committee Member
Tignor, Samuel C. Committee Member
Triantis, Konstantinos P. Committee Member
Keywords
  • emergency vehicle
  • traffic signal priority
  • traffic simulation
  • transportation planning
Date of Defense 2002-02-26
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Emergency vehicle traffic signal priority systems allow emergency vehicles such as fire and emergency medical vehicles to request and receive a green traffic signal indication when approaching an intersection. Such systems have been around for a number of years, however, there is little understanding of the costs and benefits of such systems once they are deployed. This research develops an improved method to assess the travel time impacts of emergency vehicle traffic signal priority systems for transportation planning analyses.

The research investigates the current state of available methodologies used in assessing the costs and benefits of emergency vehicle traffic signal priority systems. The ITS Deployment Analysis System (IDAS) software is identified as a recently developed transportation planning tool with cost and benefit assessment capabilities for emergency vehicle traffic signal priority systems. The IDAS emergency vehicle traffic signal priority methodology is reviewed and recommendations are made to incorporate the estimation of non-emergency vehicle travel time impacts into the current methodology. To develop these improvements, a simulation analysis was performed to model an emergency vehicle traffic signal priority system under a variety of conditions. The simulation analysis was implemented using the CORSIM traffic simulation software as the tool. Results from the simulation analysis were used to make recommendations for enhancements to the IDAS emergency vehicle traffic signal priority methodology. These enhancements include the addition of non-emergency vehicle travel time impacts as a function of traffic volume on the transportation network. These impacts were relatively small and ranged from a 1.1% to 3.3% travel time increase for a one-hour analysis period to a 0.6% to 1.7% travel time increase for a two-hour analysis period. The enhanced methodology and a sample application of the methodology are presented as the results of this research. In addition, future research activities are identified to further improve assessment capabilities for emergency vehicle traffic signal priority systems.

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