An emergency vehicle signal preemption system in Houston, Texas reduced emergency vehicle travel time by 16 to 23 percent.

April 1991
Houston,Texas,United States

Summary Information

This report evaluated the emergency vehicle traffic signal preemption system deployed in the City of Houston between 1991 and 1992. The system was designed to activate or extend green time for emergency vehicles as they approached signalized intersections. Emitters were installed on emergency vehicles and then calibrated to activate signals within a quarter mile. The preemption system allowed cross street traffic to stop and clear each intersection normally. Traffic queues in approach lanes could then pull through and make way for emergency vehicles.

Field tests were run to measure travel time for emergency vehicles (without sirens activated) before and after installation at 22 intersections within two fire districts (11 per district). After a year of operations, the average emergency vehicle travel time decreased 16 percent in one district, and 23 percent in the other.

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Emergency Response Management System Study

Author: Traffic Engineers, Inc.

Published By: Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority

Prepared by Traffic Engineers, Inc. for the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority

Source Date: April 1991


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Goal Areas


Related Metropolitan Integration Links

Link 22: Emergency Management to Arterial Management

Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


preempt, emergency preemption, traffic signals, EVP

Benefit ID: 2002-00227