Two more cities adopt Global Traffic Technologies’ Opticom emergency vehicle preemption systems


Two more cities in the USA and Canada have chosen to speed up the response times of their emergency vehicles by deploying the Opticom traffic preemption system from Global Traffic Technologies (GTT).

GTT has been contracted by the city of West Bend in Wisconsin to upgrade its traffic preemption solution to Opticom, which works alongside traffic signal controllers to help ensure emergency vehicles can move through intersections rapidly and safely. When an emergency vehicle needs to navigate an intersection, the Opticom Emergency Vehicle Preemption (EVP) system on-board the emergency vehicle sends a request to the intersection’s controller ahead of its arrival, which turns the light green when possible, clearing a path to enable the vehicle’s safe passage. In West Bend, the EVP system is being used by both fire and police vehicles. So far it has been deployed at two of the city’s busiest intersections and on 49 vehicles, and there are plans to expand the system to further intersections in the future.

“We are very pleased to be working with the city of West Bend and its emergency services. By equipping its emergency vehicles with Opticom equipment first, they are able to fully utilize the two intersections with the solution and then make strategic decisions about which additional corridors to equip as they expand,” explained GTT’s president Doug Roberts. “Opticom is helping to improve operational safety, reduce travel time to emergencies, and increase the safety of both the public and emergency personnel.”

GTT has also been contracted by the City of Surrey in British Columbia, Canada, for the implementation of its Opticom EVP system. With a population of over 450,000, Surrey is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, and the fastest growing city in the metropolitan Vancouver region. The city itself is made up of six ‘town centers’: Fleetwood, Whalley/City Center (North Surrey), Guildford, Newton, Cloverdale and South Surrey, and the Opticom EVP system has now been deployed at 90 of their busiest intersections.

The Opticom emergency response preemption system has been shown to reduce intersection crash rates by up to 70% and improve response times by up to 25%. There are three versions of the Opticom EVP system currently available:

Opticom IR, which uses coded infrared (IR) transmitters to provide line-of-sight EVP to traffic controller units; Opticom GPS, which uses global positioning system technology and highly secure radio communications to connect with controller units. Its advantages over the IR system is that it can accommodate hills, curves and extended distances, without additional detectors, and can also activate signal preemption based on estimated time of arrival or distance; Opticom Multimode, which was released in December 2016 and can provide EVP using either IR or GPS systems.

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).