Green wave for blue lights

Every intersection becomes an obstacle when the fire brigade and emergency doctors make alarm trips. Providing them with a green wave has many advantages. The technology for this has now been successfully tested in Braunschweig.

In local public transport, it has long been common practice for buses and trains to influence traffic lights in their favor. The Institute for Transport Systems Technology of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has now tested such a traffic light prioritization in Braunschweig, especially for emergency vehicles as part of the “Sirene” project. Thanks to intelligent traffic light control and modern communication technology, it is possible to guide fire engines and ambulances to the scene of action faster and with less risk of accidents. 

During the project, a total of 16 intersections in Braunschweig were equipped with intelligent circuits and emergency vehicles with LTE mobile radio and Car2X communication. The latter allowed the emergency vehicles to directly influence the traffic before reaching the traffic lights. In addition, the city's traffic control computer and the fire brigade's control system were networked. In the event of an alarm message, routes could be created immediately, which were then displayed on a screen in the emergency vehicle. The siren system then ensured that traffic lights on this route were switched to red for other road users in order to pave a “green wave” for emergency vehicles. "By prioritizing traffic lights, intersection situations are massively defused, because all other road users are red and I myself are green and I can drive over the intersection unhindered," sums up Sebastian Damm from Feuerwerk Braunschweig.

The project, in which several partners were involved, was funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The costs were around 2,6 million euros and the funding share was 78 percent.  

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