Towards the Development of a Decision Support System for Emergency Vehicle Preemption and Transit Signal Priority Investment Planning

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Virginia Tech

Advances in microprocessor and communications technologies are making it possible to deploy advanced traffic signal controllers capable of integrating emergency vehicle preemption and transit priority operations. However, investment planning for such an integrated system is not a trivial task. Investment planning for such a system requires a holistic approach that considers institutional, technical and financial issues from a systems perspective. Two distinct service providers, fire and rescue providers and transit operators, with separate operational functions, objectives, resources and constituents are involved. Performance parameters for the integrated system are not well defined and performance data are often imprecise in nature.

Transportation planners and managers interested in deploying integrated emergency vehicle preemption and traffic priority systems do not have an evaluation approach or a common set of performance metrics to make an informed decision. There is a need for a simple structured analytical approach and tools to assess the impacts of an integrated emergency vehicle preemption and transit priority system as part of investment decision making processes. This need could be met with the assistance of a decision support system (DSS) developed to provide planners and managers a simple and intuitive analytical approach to assist in making investment decisions regarding emergency vehicle preemption and transit signal priority.

This dissertation has two research goals: (1) to develop a decision support system framework to assess the impacts of advanced traffic signal control systems capable of integrating emergency vehicle preemption and transit signal priority operations for investment planning purposes; and (2) to develop selected analytical tools for incorporation into the decision support system framework. These analytical tools will employ fuzzy sets theory concepts, as well as cost and accident reduction factors. As part of this research, analytical tools to assess impacts on operating cost for transit and fire and rescue providers have been developed. In addition, an analytical tool was developed and employs fuzzy multi-attribute decision making methods to rank alternative transit priority strategies. These analytical tools are proposed for incorporation into the design of a decision support system in the future.

Transportation Investment Planning, ITS Evaluation, Fuzzy Sets Theory Concepts, Decision Support Systems, Multi-attribute Decision Making, Traffic Signal Priority