Dutch ambulances safer on the road thanks to Belgian innovation

Ambulance Nederland

23 December 2020

The branch association Ambulancezorg Nederland (AZN) will collaborate with Be-Mobile, supplier of smart mobility services from Melle, for the construction and delivery of its own innovative C-ITS platform. With this platform, the ambulance sector links up on a national scale with the services developed within the Partnership Talking Traffic. In this project, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management works together with dozens of other authorities and market parties on innovative traffic applications. The Be-Mobile technology ensures that smart traffic lights can give ambulances a green light and thus a safe passage across an intersection. In addition, road users are warned that an ambulance is approaching to allow them to anticipate. This contributes to more safety for road users, the ambulance team and the patient in the ambulance.

Road safety as a driving force

At the end of October 2020, the members of AZN decided that all ambulance regions will connect to Talking Traffic via the sector's national ICT systems. Be-Mobile has been commissioned by AZN to establish the link with Talking Traffic in the first quarter of the new year. Road safety is the primary motivation. Victor Verrijp, chairman board committee Innovation & ICT, AZN: “The fact that this technology can significantly improve safety for all road users is a sufficient motivation for us. By taking into account the route of the ambulance, a ‘Green Carpet’ can be rolled out and in the long run delays by, for example, bridge openings and movable bollards can be prevented.”

A first in Europe

International provider of smart mobility services Be-Mobile is proud to have been selected by AZN to deliver the platform. “This is a very big step for the ambulance sector and a first in Europe", says Jan Cools, CEO at Be-Mobile. “The availability of high-frequency data, directly from the sector's national systems, will allow us to make optimal use of our technology to facilitate the prioritization of smart traffic lights and to alert other road users via apps such as Flitsmeister”, Cools continues. “Be-Mobile is responsible for the safe processing of the data, taking into account all the regulations concerning privacy and the protection of personal data.”

Broader international implementation

The introduction of this technology for all emergency and rescue vehicles in the Netherlands has been under consideration for some time now. Recent statistics show that on average at least once a week there is an accident with an emergency vehicle that is forced to drive through a red light on its way to a calamity. Prioritization by smart traffic lights is one of the examples of what is possible with this type of C-ITS technology and it looks like the fire department, police and defense will soon follow. In more and more places in the Netherlands (the counter reaches almost 750 in mid-December and the number is growing steadily) we see smart traffic lights and in this way giving priority becomes possible.

Also in Flanders, through the MobiliData program of the Flemish government, steps are being taken to come up with similar innovative mobility solutions. Ambulances can therefore cross intersections at smart traffic lights in Flanders with a green light instead of a red one. At the same time, other road users are warned that an emergency service is approaching, allowing them to anticipate this in time.

“The fact that this technology can significantly improve safety for all road users is a sufficient motivation for us. By taking into account the route of the ambulance, a ‘Green Carpet’ can be rolled out and in the long run delays by, for example, bridge openings and movable bollards can be prevented.”

- Victor Verrijp, Chairman board committee Innovation & ICT, AZN

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