Maximize emergency resources and response by utilizing Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) capabilities.

National experience with AVL.

Dallas,Texas,United States; Phoenix,Arizona,United States; San Antonio,Texas,United States; Schaumburg,Illinois,United States; Minnesota,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Maximize emergency resources and response by utilizing Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) capabilities.

Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems relay the positions of emergency vehicles to a central location, allowing dispatchers to:
  • Quickly find the closest available unit to respond to a call
  • View all vehicles as they travel emergency routes and evaluate the route’s efficiency
  • Adjust directions to accommodate traffic conditions

"We know where all our emergency service units are at any given time. The system does not assume a truck is sitting in the fire station, but it actually dispatches the nearest truck based on where the trucks are at the time of the call." —Jim Arbagey, Fire Division Chief, Deployment Services, Phoenix Fire Department

With the increased coordination automatic vehicle location provides, emergency agencies are:
  • Expanding their service area and setting up links with other agencies
  • Increasing operating efficiency of existing vehicles and staff
  • Quickly addressing and resolving emergency situations

Information from AVL systems, when combined with computer aided dispatch software, can also provide a rich source of data for analyzing emergency vehicle operations and evaluating agency performance.

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Speeding Response, Saving Lives: Automatic Vehicle Location Capabilities for Emergency Services


Published By: USDOT ITS JPO

Source Date: 1/1/1999

EDL Number: 6866

Other Reference Number: FHWA-JPO-99-003

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/2243

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Analyst:

Jane Lappin
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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Lesson ID: 2005-00071