The frequency with which I see ambulances impeded by slow-moving traffic in Bangalore led me to wonder if something can be done to speed up their progress.
Studies have shown that in India, the capacity of a standard two-lane road is approximately 1700 pcu (PCU stands for Passenger Car Unit and is a unit of measurement of road capacity) in each direction, which is pretty good.
However, in cities, there just aren’t enough roads in a given direction, or traffic gets slowed down by conflict at intersections.
Whatever the case may be, the slow movement of traffic on roads can impede the progress of ambulances through a city. Here, we propose one solution to the problem (a solution that requires a minimum of two-lanes).
Each ambulance carries a device to trigger the traffic lights ahead so that they prevent any vehicles from entering the road ahead of it (in both lanes).
There are openings in the median to allow a vehicle to change lanes (as shown in the image). Once an ambulance has entered a road, it uses these openings to switch to the lane going in the opposite direction (as shown in the image). Then it enters the next road in the normal manner, and repeats the process.
This method uses the fact that if traffic is stopped, the vehicles don’t usually fill up the road. It will work as long as traffic can be stopped sufficiently soon, so that the roads ahead are no more than half-full of cars.