New system allows emergency vehicles to navigate traffic easier

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A new system allows traffic lights to work with emergency vehicles to make sure they can easily get where they're going.

The University of Arizona College of Engineering has been working on a new program for 10 years. They've been testing it in Anthem since 2012 and the purpose is to make riding a bus, driving our own vehicles, and walking on the sidewalk safer.

A demonstration today shows what transportation will look like in the very near future.

It's called Connected Vehicle Technology. For example, A Valley Metro bus can communicate with the ambulance heading out on a call and the driver knows to slow down, pull over, or get out of the way.

"Imagine the WiFi you have at home connecting all of your appliances in your house, but it's the cars on the roadway and pedestrians," Larry Head said.

Dean of the college of engineering at U of A, Head says the program reduces crashes by almost 80 percent.

U of A has been working with local and federal transportation experts on the project.

We are taking the information from other users in the intersection and giving them a more efficient way of crossing the traffic light," Faisal Salem said.

By the end of the year, engineers plan to equip personal vehicles, school buses, even emergency vehicles, with this technology to continue testing in Anthem.