Optimizing locations of EMVs can cut travel time: Study – Times of India


Nagpur: A study by a VNIT student has found that ambulances or emergency medical vehicles (EMVs) can reduce travel time by almost 10 minutes by optimizing their locations through Google Maps API data.
Nitisha Jain is a postgraduate student of transport engineering at VNIT. Her study has revealed that at an ambulance takes almost 25 minutes to reach a spot from its designated place. “Implementing the optimized parking system can cover all spots within 16 minutes and 71% of the crash sites can be covered in under 10 minutes,” Jain’s study revealed. It emphasized on the state-government run ambulance facility.
Currently, Nagpur city has 21 ambulances (17 basic and four advanced). They are at the emergency medical stations (EMS) to attend to calls pertaining to injuries and road accidents. The ambulances are parked at different primary health centres across the city.
The study used the same fleet for optimization of EMS locations and also to identify their shortest travel path to the site. The new locations for EMS could be any government building like a hospital, police station, fire station etc.
The identified accident black spots were taken as the demand sites for this study. Using the geographical locations of the demand sites and possible EMS, a software code was written by using python programming language in Jupyter Notebook to optimize the location of EMS and to minimize the response time. This was possible using the Google Maps API data which contains historic as well as real travel time information on the city road network. The travel time on the city roads were extracted from the Google Distance Matrix API using another python program. The travel time obtained from the API data was physically verified to validate the output.
The EMS locations are critical because they define how much time an ambulance will take to reach an accident site or in technical terminology, a demand site.
The EMS locations should be such that they can cater to any demand site in the city in minimum time. The current emergency system takes almost 25 minutes to reach a crash site from an EMS.
Moreover, the existing system would not be able to cater to double coverage, which means that if an ambulance is busy in an area with a victim and simultaneously another accident happens in that area or the capacity of the ambulance is not sufficient to take all the victims, then in this scenario, the second accident would not be covered within the existing 25 minute response time.
With this background, Jain, under the supervision of Dr Udit Jain and Dr V S Landge from VNIT Nagpur and Dr Ankit Kathuria from IIT Jammu, took up research work to optimize the EMV locations in Nagpur City using the existing fleet of ambulances using real time network travel time information.
The research focused on ambulances responding to road accidents in minimum time following the shortest time path and establishing new optimized locations of EMS to reduce the response time and incorporate double coverage in the emergency response system.