The Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) in Arizona, US, is trialling a SMARTDrive intelligent traffic signal system in Anthem.

The first MCDOT SMARTDrive application will test the vehicle prioritisation system, which gives traffic signal priority to multiple emergency vehicles converging at the same time and at the same intersection.

An experimental vehicle system will help prevent collisions between emergency vehicles and private cars as the vehicles will be equipped with on-board devices that can communicate traffic signals with real-time traffic control centres.

The MCDOT SMARTDrive field test involves six interconnected traffic lights along Daisy Mountain Drive in Anthem, which establishes communication with MCDOT’s Traffic Management Center in South Phoenix.

Test equipment includes short-range communication devices, integrated WiFi Bluetooth connections, closed-circuit TV cameras, traffic detection and data collection software programs as well as fibre optic signal interconnect systems.

The new application is developed in cooperation with University of Arizona and the first round of field tests will involve MCDOT emergency traffic control REACT vehicles carrying vehicle communication prototype radios, which will be be tracked by GPS.

Andy Kunasek, MCDOT Chairman, said: "This study will result in reduced traffic accidents and safer, more efficient roadways."