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Emergency vehicle preemption in Central San Rafael: Leveraging recent investments

Posted on January 3, 2022


The San Rafael Public Works installed video detection at over 50 intersections in Central San Rafael and made significant upgrades to the communication network using fiber optics in late 2020. These upgrades were largely funded by the MTC Innovative Deployment of Enhanced Arterials (IDEA) grant for the purposes of Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM). Thanks to the ATSPM, the City has been able to monitor traffic signals remotely and make changes to offsets to improve progression for vehicles on the major arterials and change cycle lengths to improve circulation for all modes (vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians) through the main downtown corridor.

This investment in traffic signal technology by the City of San Rafael and a unique partnership with Global Traffic Technologies (GTT), Whelen Cloud Platform, and Miovision has created an opportunity for the City to use existing field and vehicle equipment to implement an emergency vehicle preemption system.

Together, San Rafael’s Fire, Police, and Public Works departments have been collaborating with the vendors to provide a unique and centralized preemption solution using critical speed and location information from real time cloud-based traffic data. The solution involves reading the speed, direction, and location of a moving emergency vehicle and relaying the basic information through the cloud to trigger a green light before the vehicle gets to the traffic signal. This solution is more advanced than a typical line-of-sight dependent solution. We hope to implement this system in early 2022 and have positive results by Summer 2022. Every second matters!


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