Fire trucks and ambulances in Sandy Springs may gain the ability to change traffic lights to speed their way to emergencies in a new system scheduled for City Council consideration Feb. 18.

The $676,000 proposal uses a technology product called Glance, according to a city staff memo. Using GPS, wireless communication and route-predicting software, the system changes specially outfitted traffic signals to green ahead of the emergency vehicle and red on cross streets. The memo claims the technology, created by a company called Applied Information, can reduce response times by up to 20%.

The city’s ever-increasing traffic is an ongoing concern for the Sandy Springs Fire Department, which purchased smaller, more nimble trucks in recent years partly to get through the congestion. “Maneuvering around stopped traffic and traffic queues at intersections continues to be a challenge for Fire and EMS response times,” the memo says.

The proposal comes at the same time the city intends to build a temporary fire station at Roswell Road and Mount Vernon Highway, a heavily used intersection where vehicle access is pegged as a major challenge.

According to the memo, the 2018 average response time for an EMS call was 7 minutes, 59 seconds 94% of the time, and for a fire call was 10 minutes, 19 seconds 90% of the time.

The proposed expenditure of $676,284.44 would include outfitting all 26 fire and EMS vehicles and 113 traffic signals, plus setup and five years of “connectivity and support services.”

The council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Galambos Way.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.