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Bret Hanna
| Wrona DuBois, P.L.L.C.

Green lights are in store for drivers of ambulances headed to University Hospital on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Ambulance drivers heading to the hospital on routes that pass through 35 intersections will now encounter green lights at every intersection, every time.

The Utah Department of Transportation recently announced that it has installed "Opticom" devices, developed by Global Traffic Technologies (GTT), at the intersections to allow the emergency responders to turn the lights green for them as their vehicle approaches. Emitters in the emergency vehicles allow drivers to transmit a pulse of infrared light to a receiver located on the mast arms of the lights. Upon receipt of the infrared signal, the light cycles yellow and then red for vehicles traveling through the intersection in opposing directions.

The devices significantly decrease the time it takes for an emergency vehicle to clear intersections which, in turn, can help saves lives when minutes and seconds count – think cases of stroke, heart attack and severe trauma. The devices cost about $5,000 per traffic light so they are not inexpensive. But it seems like money well spent given the anticipated benefits for those in need of emergency care.

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