Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Traffic signal technology coming to Manatee County

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) – The Manatee Board of County Commissioners received an update on the pilot program designed to make it easier and safer for emergency vehicles to reach citizens in need by giving them green lights at intersections.  

This system should help improve response and transport times even more. 

“When someone’s experiencing a medical emergency, seconds matter,” said Manatee County Public Safety Deputy Director James Crutchfield. “With this technology, we’re estimating 11 seconds can be saved at each intersection. That adds up quick.” 

The EMS Signal Priority/Pre-emption Pilot Project will be focused on several traffic lights in the US 41/US 301 and SR 64 corridors. Using $300,000 of an allocated $1,000,000 of Generational Impact funding, staff identified 24 intersections along the target corridors. 

“This is going to be awesome for EMS to have this out there and being able to use the system,” said Manatee County Commission Chair Mike Rahn. 

In coordination with Florida Department of Transportation, Cities of Bradenton and Palmetto and County EMS and Fleet Divisions, Public Works staff have installed field devices at the traffic-signal locations and installed activation devices in 10 EMS vehicles (8 ambulances and 2 supervisor vehicles).

Following testing and fine-tuning during the month of May, the system is expected to be fully operational within the next week. 

“This was a monumental lift,” said Manatee County Public Works Director Chad Butzow. “Within the next week, we feel the system will be fully up and running the way it’s been designed.” 

County staff will continue to monitor and adjust the system based on feedback from the EMS team and other involved agencies.  

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