A Strategy for Emergency Vehicle Preemption and Route Selection
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Emergency vehicle preemption (EVP) aims to give right of way to emergency vehicles (EV) heading toward the incident location through a network of signalized intersections by creating a green wave en-route. The design goals of EVP systems are two folds: first, to avoid any hindrance to the passage of EV along the road and at the intersections and second, to reduce the negative impact of preemption on general traffic. The negative impact of EVP on normal traffic can be minimized by selecting appropriate preemption strategy. The EVP schemes proposed earlier aim to minimize the travel time of the EV with no or little consideration to the negative impact of EVP on the normal traffic. In this study, a joint strategy for optimal path selection and EV preemption is developed. The proposed scheme selects the optimal path for the EV before it departs from its origin and then activates the preemption on each intersection en-route at the right time to clear the intersection before the EV reaches. The proposed EVP scheme also aims to minimize the impact of EVP over normal traffic at both stages (i.e., path selection phase and preemption phase). A major advantage of the proposed method is that once the optimal path is selected, the emergency information can be disseminated to other vehicles using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication in the EV path to clear the entire route or the approaching lane. The strategy was tested using a microscopic simulation environment for a real traffic network. The findings indicated a major reduction in the travel time of the EV while minimizing the impact of preemption on the normal traffic. The proposed strategy and evaluation procedure can be helpful for corresponding agencies and practitioners to assess the impact of implementing preemption on existing or proposed arterials. - 2019, The Author(s).