Traffic lights saving lives
Most drivers know that unpleasant experience of sitting in traffic when running late. For first responders working in healthcare, the state of congestion has far greater consequences.
Derrick Tham, an occupational therapist at Logan Hospital, witnesses this every day as he drives on Loganlea Road. With a McDonald’s, Woolworths and shopping precinct on the block, drivers on Loganlea Road are often bogged down in traffic.
‘At around 7 am and 4 pm, Loganlea Road can be extremely busy,’ he says.
‘There tends to be quite a few trucks on the road, which might be due to the construction that’s happening around the hospital.
‘But it’s so important that ambulances get to places efficiently – paramedics are the only ones who have the training and expertise in handling medical and trauma emergencies.’
Logan City Council’s Traffic Management Centre has tackled the challenge of getting ambulances to their destinations as soon as possible through an innovative device that controls traffic lights and signals.
As every minute could reduce a patient’s chance of survival in a medical emergency, the device was created with the objective of reducing congestion delays and concurrently, response times.
When activated, it sets off a sequence of traffic lights and stops all traffic except for the lane occupied by the ambulance, allowing the vehicle to seamlessly access the M1.
‘Even 30 seconds could save someone’s life,’ Derrick says.
But more is needed – innovation in traffic safety management and traffic control will continue to be crucial in improving response times and congestion.