LCG upgrading signals to improve emergency response times

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Traffic signals in Lafayette city and parish will be upgraded to help emergency response vehicles get to their destinations quicker.

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – During an emergency, every second counts. 

That’s why Lafayette Consolidated Government plans to upgrade the emergency preemption equipment on traffic signals. 

“We try to get to any emergency within three to five minutes so obviously having this new technology is going to enhance our response time,” said Lafayette Fire Department Public Information Officer Alton Trahan. 

The technology will automatically turn the signals from red to green for emergency vehicles.  

“The faster you can get there the statistics show that the probability of success goes way up and that’s what we’re here to try to do,” said LCG Transportation Engineer Warren Abadie. 

“By having this new system in place it will really help first responders get to the scene quickly,” said Ashley Moran with the Acadiana Planning Commission. 

LCG maintains 190 traffic signals. The new equipment will be installed in at least 90 percent of them.     

Twenty Lafayette fire trucks will also get the new technology. 

The current system, called Opticom, is over 30 years old and hard to maintain. 

“It uses old technology that relies on line of sight and light pulses to detect the presence of emergency vehicles,” Abadie explained. 

The current Opticom system, though considered outdated, works automatically when the engineer turns on the truck’s emergency lights.  

They’ll turn on the new system in the same way only the technology is a lot more advanced. 

The new system uses a cellular network, global positioning satellites and has a radio frequency back up. 

It’s also meant to reduce traffic congestion while emergency vehicles are responding. 

“It’s also getting the public to understand they need to move to the right and allow the first responders to get to the scene,” Trahan said. 

LCG, the Acadiana Planning Commission and DOTD will spend $1.5 million to equip the traffic lights and fire trucks. 

The technology will also be offered to ambulance companies who will have the option to buy transmitters for their vehicles. 

LCG hopes to have the new system in place by late 2020. 

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