Have you ever been sitting at a red light and noticed a blinking white light next to the traffic signal? The light is part of Hudson’s Traffic Signal Preemption System. The system helps clear a path through intersections to allow Hudson safety forces to arrive quickly and safely at an emergency situation. The blinking white light indicates that preemption is in progress and safety forces will be crossing the intersection momentarily.
$186,000 of the system’s $207,000 cost was paid for in 2005 by the Department of Homeland Security. The state-of-the-art system uses GPS to signal when Hudson EMS and Fire vehicles are headed toward traffic lights. When a preemption signal is sent, the intersection ahead begins to clear before the vehicles arrive. All lights cycle to red to stop traffic, then the light turns green in the direction the safety vehicles will be traveling.
“This invaluable, high-tech system makes travel during an emergency significantly safer for the public and safety forces alike,” said Hudson Fire and EMS Chief Jerry Varnes. “It allows us to travel swiftly to even the far reaches of Hudson to get to those in need.”
The preemption system eliminates the need for safety vehicles to maneuver around cars in intersections and decreases traffic congestion during an emergency situation, resulting in increased safety for all motorists. Since installation of the preemption system, Hudson EMS and Fire have been able to cut approximately one minute off their response times. When seconds count, the system is there to help first responders get to where they are needed as quickly as possible.