Title page for ETD etd-08192003-131921

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Gkritza, Konstantina
Author's Email Address kgkritza@vt.edu
URN etd-08192003-131921
Title Analysis of the characteristics of emergency vehicle operations in the Washington D.C. Region
Degree Master of Science
Department Civil Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Collura, John Committee Chair
Teodorovic, Dusan Committee Member
Tignor, Samuel C. Committee Member
  • safety
  • emergency vehicles
  • response time
  • signal preemption
Date of Defense 2003-08-07
Availability unrestricted
Concerns about increased emergency vehicle response times in the Washington D.C. Region, especially during peak periods, have led to the implementation of signal preemption systems to facilitate the efficient and safe movement of emergency vehicles. However, to date only limited research has been carried out on the travel characteristics of emergency vehicles.

This paper presents an analysis of emergency vehicle characteristics to enhance our understanding of emergency vehicle operations and impacts and to assist public agencies and other stakeholders in the planning and deployment of emergency vehicle preemption systems. Emergency vehicle characteristics that merit special attention include temporal and spatial distribution of emergency vehicle travel; frequency and duration of preemption requests; platoon responses; and crashes involving emergency vehicles. Data on major corridors in Fairfax County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland are used in the analysis.

The analysis indicates that such data are useful to assess the need for a preemption system along major arterials. Moreover, the analysis demonstrates the importance of considering emergency vehicle preemption impacts regarding delay to other vehicles. It is also important to note that there is some variability in the emergency vehicle characteristics depending on the proximity of a firehouse to an intersection and other factors. It is proposed that future efforts build upon this research to develop warrants to be used in determining the appropriateness of installing preemption systems at signalized intersections.

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