Faster Ambulances With The New Traffic Priority System?

In an effort to bolster emergency response times and enhance patient care, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) unveiled a new traffic priority system (TPS) for ambulances. 

This innovative system, set to be operational by mid-July 2024, aims to provide SCDF ambulances with a “green light” path to hospitals, significantly reducing transit times during emergencies. 

The system’s implementation is part of a series of advancements revealed at the SCDF’s Workplan Seminar 2024.

The Traffic Priority System (TPS) 

The TPS leverages electronic transponders installed in SCDF ambulances to communicate with roadside sensors and traffic light controllers. 

When an ambulance equipped with the transponder approaches within 200 metres of a designated TPS traffic junction, the system triggers the traffic lights to turn green, ensuring a clear path for the emergency vehicle. 

This setup minimises delays caused by red lights and traffic congestion, enabling ambulances to transport patients to hospitals more swiftly.

The initial rollout will see four TPS-equipped junctions around Ng Teng Fong Hospital from July 15, 2024. 

These junctions include Boon Lay Way and Jurong Gateway Road; Jurong East Street 21 and Jurong Gateway Road; Toh Guan Road and Jurong Gateway Road; and Toh Guan Road and Boon Lay Way. 

The system will gradually expand to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Changi General Hospital, and National University Hospital by the second quarter of 2025, with full coverage for all public hospitals expected by the end of 2025.

Benefits and Challenges 

A trial of the TPS at Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital demonstrated significant time savings, reducing ambulance transit times by 30 to 100 seconds per trip. 

This reduction can be crucial in emergency scenarios where every second counts. SCDF’s Major Matthew Goh highlighted the system’s potential to save lives by speeding up patient conveyance to hospitals.

Despite its promising benefits, the implementation of TPS comes with challenges. 

During the trial phase, the team encountered issues such as interference from electric and magnetic fields of nearby MRT lines and signal obstructions by trees. 

These challenges necessitated adjustments in sensor placements to ensure optimal functionality.

Broader Emergency Response Enhancements 

In addition to the TPS, SCDF unveiled several other innovations aimed at enhancing emergency response capabilities. 

One such advancement is the electric pump ladder (E-PL), a first in the ASEAN region, designed for quick and agile deployment in congested urban areas. 

The E-PL’s all-wheel steering allows it to navigate tight spaces, while its “crab steering” mode enables diagonal movement, further aiding manoeuvrability in densely built environments.

The SCDF also introduced an upgraded self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with telemetry capabilities, providing real-time monitoring of a firefighter’s air supply. 

This system ensures that ground commanders can make informed decisions during firefighting operations, enhancing safety and efficiency.

The myResponder Mobile App 

Another significant development is the new version of the myResponder mobile app, which facilitates community first responders (CFRs) in attending to cardiac arrest incidents. 

The app now includes features such as a “Respond Together” function, allowing CFRs to see the number of responders and their locations on an incident map. 

This feature, along with video call capabilities and a chat function for CFRs, aims to improve coordination and effectiveness during emergencies.

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Together, we can all contribute to creating safer roads for everyone. 


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