MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contacts: Carolina Martinez, JPL (818) 354-9382
Dick Singer, City of Monrovia (626) 303-6609
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2000
EMERGENCY VEHICLE EARLY WARNING SYSTEM TO BE TESTED IN MONROVIA
Monrovia's City Council has approved an agreement with E-
Views, Inc., to develop and implement an Emergency Vehicle
Intersection Early Warning System that will alert drivers to
approaching emergency vehicles to reduce the potential for
The program will cost Monrovia nothing.
The E-Views system was developed with the help of the
Technology Affiliates Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena. It involves the installation of transponders in 20
police and 10 fire emergency vehicles and the installation of
visual display boards on traffic signal mastarms above the
centers of the intersections.
The transponders will communicate via microwave with
receivers on the display boards. As the emergency vehicle
approaches the intersections, the police officer or firefighter
activates the transponder, which automatically turns the traffic
light to yellow, then red, for cross traffic.
The intersections' visual warning display signs will also be
activated and approaching drivers will see bright flashing
vehicle warning symbols on the displays informing them of the
direction from which emergency traffic is approaching, from as
far as 1,067 meters (3,500 feet) out. The lighted icons will
appear to move across the displays synchronized with the actual
emergency vehicle's movement.
Eight Monrovia intersections are being fitted with the
system. These are along Huntington Drive at Mountain, Shamrock,
California, Myrtle, Magnolia, Mayflower and Monterey Avenues and
at Foothill Boulevard and Ivy Avenue. The program is estimated
to cost nearly $600,000 and will be fully funded by E-Views. The
private firm will also be responsible for all liability
Monrovia Chief of Police Joe Santoro, reporting to the City
Council on the project, said, "When responding to emergencies
with red lights and sirens, emergency vehicles present a serious
traffic hazard to themselves and other vehicles and pedestrians
while passing against traffic through an intersection.
"Confusion, inattention, mobile phones, car radios, hearing
impairment, distracting children and failure to hear sirens and
see flashing lights are just a few of the many causes of serious
accidents that result in multi-million-dollar lawsuits against
cities and states."
Santoro said that in the U.S. alone, more than 156,000
accidents involving emergency vehicles occurred at intersections
from the early 1980s to 1995, resulting in 6,550 deaths. National
Safety Board statistics show that 40% of firefighters killed in
the line of duty died in accidents on the way to an incident. The
majority of these accidents are at intersections.
In 1997, Santoro reported, more than 15,000 accidents with
emergency vehicles responding to emergency calls occurred in the
U.S., resulting in 8,000 injuries, 500 fatalities and millions of
dollars in liability claims and vehicle repairs.
Through JPL's Technology Affiliates Program, large and small
businesses can work with JPL engineers to solve specific tasks.
Upon joining this innovative program, E-Views, formerly E-Lite
Limited, was paired with JPL engineers with specialized expertise
to solve engineering design issues. These included not only E-
Views' customized transponders, but also comprehensive designs
that blend with existing city communications infrastructures.
The Technology Affiliates Program is just one of several
JPL technology transfer programs designed to bring the benefits
of the space program to American industry. For further
information, visit the Commercial Technology Program's Web site
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.