October 15, 2019
CONTACT: Lindsey Wiles
MARIETTA – On Friday, October 11, 2019, the City of Marietta marked eighteen months of connected transportation and life saving technology within the city by being awarded the Technology Innovation Showcase award from the State of Georgia’s Chief Information Officer, Calvin Rhodes. This award is given annually to innovative projects in the State of Georgia which address a specific business problem, improve business processes and operating efficiency, have financial savings or cost avoidance, or enhance service delivery to customers. Marietta is the only city to win the award this year.
As the first fully connected City in the United States, Marietta has made the roads safer not only for first responders but also for residents and visitors in the 23 square mile city. It has been eighteen months and 20,000 emergency calls since the City had the foresight to install preemption software on Marietta Fire vehicles to give first responders in Marietta green lights at pre-cleared intersections. This technology provides a safer route and shortens response time. To that end, Marietta Fire has seen a ten second reduction in travel time per intersection within City limits. This equates to the average travel time for response vehicles reduced by over one minute per call in the last eighteen months with the trend continuing to show a steady increase downward.
“Eighteen months ago, the City of Marietta went live with the first totally connected smart traffic network in the United States,” said City Manager Bill Bruton. “Through this technology we have far surpassed our initial goal of reducing response time for our fire department. We have seen our average response time reduce by over one minute and we have every reason to expect this downward trend to continue. A 2009 study* determined that a ‘one minute reduction in response times across the US would save more than 300,000 lives every year.’ Think about that impact in our community, how many additional lives will our first responders now save each year? Could it be you or one of your loved ones? This is truly a life-saving advancement for Marietta.”
Life safety is not the only benefit of this technology employed by the City of Marietta. There is the potential of significant financial savings to Marietta taxpayers as well. Like other metropolitan cities, Marietta’s traffic congestion has seen a steady increase which creates a challenge for fire and emergency personnel to reach the scene of an incident while keeping response times low. Traditional thought would be to study the city and determine where to build a new fire station to combat any uptick in response times due to increased congestion, but Marietta’s city leaders think outside the box. If a new fire station were to be built today it would cost $4 million to build the new station, $1.5 million to staff, and an additional $1 million to purchase fire apparatus for the new station. Applying this preemption technology, Marietta is able to clear out the intersections in the route of the responding emergency vehicle and decrease response time without building a new station. Thus keeping safety the first priority with quicker response times while always being mindful of the cost to its taxpayers.
Enabling first responders to utilize the preemption software is not the only benefit to Marietta being the first fully connected transportation system in the United States. There is also a hands-free app available for citizens to download which connects them to first responders, school beacons, traffic signals and driver feedback signs.
Using the app, citizens will be notified they are in a school zone, when the beacons are active, and be given a warning if they exceed the school zone speed limit by 10 MPH. Vehicles approaching intersections will communicate with traffic signals so drivers can adapt to traffic flow. Another feature of the app notifies drivers of cyclists and pedestrians ahead who in turn will be warned if a vehicle is approaching at an unsafe speed. Anyone driving, cycling or walking in the city can use the app which will automatically work in the city’s 23 square mile area. Marietta is the only city in the United States to have this type of a system operational in every part of the community.
To download the app please visit either the Google Play or iTunes Store and search for “Glance TravelSafely.
*Elizabeth Ty Wilde, Columbia University. “Do Emergency Medical System Response Times Matter for Health Outcomes?” July 10, 2009