Indian Engineering Students Tackle Traffic Control Problems

By: Sara Chauvette

During a medical emergency, minutes can mean the difference between life and death but in India, 20% of people who need emergency medical treatment die en route to the hospital because of traffic jams, according to Indian engineer Raj Aryan. The grim statistics drove Aryan and a team of researchers to engineer a system that could better control traffic and allow emergency service vehicles right of way.

Chandigarh University students Aryann, Kashish Janngid and Himannshu Soni designed a smart sensor-reliant traffic program that gives ambulances right of way. Their design utilizes Piezoelectric sensors which do not require hookups to electrical outlets. The sensors monitor traffic levels and direct the stoplights to change at different intervals depending on how light or severe traffic is.

The system can also sense fire trucks, ambulances and emergency vehicles. When the program knows those vehicles are coming, they will direct drivers to stop at a red light while they cross the intersection.

The team has filed a patent for the smart traffic system. The system could save thousands of lives and be applied in multiple places.

The traffic control issues are not unique to India, either. Nation Thailand reports that more than 20% of patients also don’t survive an ambulance trip because traffic flow is so poor as well.

In 2017, a clip went viral after showing a truck blocking an ambulance from getting through. The truck driver was furious the ambulance overtook him, an in a fit of road rage, they sped up to catch the ambulance and complain. Thai secretary-general Annucha Setthasathian said in an interview the issue in Thailand is that some drivers may believe ambulances abuse their sirens.

“Many people suspect that ambulances that rush around may not really carry a patient in need of urgent medical treatment. But the truth is, even if there is no patient on board, an ambulance that turns on its sirens is definitely heading to pick up a patient,” said Anucha.

To read more about the smart traffic and emergency vehicle system click here.