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City of Lincoln
Fire & Rescue Department

Traffic Pre Emptive System


As part of the 1995 Fire Department bond issue supported by the city administration and council and approved by the voters, the City traffic engineering division has developed and installed traffic signal pre-empt equipment at approximately 120 intersections to assist fire vehicles to travel more safely when responding. Studies in other communities indicate an improved response time for emergency vehicles by as much as 23%. These studies also indicate that accidents during emergency response at intersections with traffic pre-empt have also been reduced.

Every emergency vehicle is equipped with a device that emits a flashing light, much like a strobe light. Select intersections have sensors mounted on the traffic signal head that receive the flashing light from the approaching emergency vehicle. Once the sensor recognizes the emergency vehicle, the traffic signal head will change to green from whatever color is displaying to traffic. This change is done so that opposing traffic to the direction of emergency travel will receive a red light, thus allowing the emergency vehicle to pass safely.

The purpose of this system is to protect motorists during emergency vehicle response through effective vehicle traffic management. In addition, risk to emergency responders is reduced from other motorist while the emergency vehicle is responding. This system also assists emergency vehicles to get to emergency scenes more quickly.

To see which intersections are under pre-emptive control MAP (416kb).

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