In an effort to sensitise Bangaloreans about the ‘golden-hour rule’ and to urge people to make way for ambulances, the Bangalore Traffic Police had launched the Ambulance Priority Campaign earlier this month. However, in spite of massive efforts and city-wide awareness campaigns, the average time an ambulance takes traffic per junction has not reduced.
The problem is acute in central business district (CBD) as statistics show that an ambulance, even with the siren on, takes about 5-7 minutes per junction to transport a patient to the nearest medical centre.
In suburban areas, it takes about 3-5 minutes per junction to reach the nearest hospital from the incident site. Peak hour conditions are bad in both these geographies and the average time almost doubles.
“The increasing traffic in the city and the insensitive nature of many people have seen ambulances stuck in traffic for a very long time. Our campaign has tried to effectively drive the point home in many areas where hoardings are put up. However, 5-7 minutes is quite a good time and this cannot be reduced further,” said M A Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic).
However, Saleem added that vehicles coming into the city from taluks and districts suffer the most.
“These ambulances face a long line of traffic due to arterial roads. We are now working towards reducing the average time frame of these ambulances,” Saleem said.
Further, to address this problem, the traffic police had also planned to introduce GPS sensors in all the 108 ambulances operating in the city.
The device would enable ambulances to coordinate with a traffic signal when it is 80 metres away from the signal and reduce the time consumed at signals by almost half.
“A firm had made a demonstration on this device, but the technology is not very robust. Both the ambulance and the traffic signal need the device to be fitted so that after an ambulance passes on the message, the signal can automatically change to green. We are still waiting for the right technology to come by,” Saleem said.
“We are still at the testing stage and the project is under progress. This technology should probably be fitted in and become operational in our fleet of 56 ambulances that operate in Bangalore urban by January next year,” S S Pervez, Marketing Head, GVK EMRI (108 Ambulances) explained.