AI to clear ambulance routes in Oxford


An artificial intelligence system designed to help clear the best route for ambulances is set to have its first live trial in Oxford this year. 

Created by Liverpool startup Red Ninja, the system changes traffic lights along the ambulance's route based on a combination of real-time and historical traffic data.


While amblance drivers can already run red lights and push button systems have been tested that enable them to change lights as they travel, the Red Ninja system uses a computer algorithm to predict the ambulance's route and clear a path without the driver being distracted by its presence.

Red Ninja has spent the last few years analaysing location data from ambulances in Liverpool combined with network data such as the length and shape of a route and the amount of cars on it as well as levels of detail such as the length and height of kerbs. 

Using the GPS data it can pin point a vehicle's position within five second intervals.

This system then links up with a city's traffic management system, through a handover process allowing the algorithm to control the lights to clear predicted routes to green. If the driver changes course the algorithm responds by clearing the most likely course along the new route.

It currently works with Siemens' Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) system and Dynniq's traffic management control systems, which control cycles of green lights in urban areas across the country.

Katy Wynne, production manager at Red Ninja, said: 'One challenge is to make the system work with other traffic control management systems, which will allow us to take control and hand control back.'

She added: 'Using automatic vehicle location data what we found is that when there is a red light lots of drivers would just stop and would not know that they can go through the light to let the ambulance pass. if you can change the lights to to green you can let people through a lot easier and prevent ambulances having to weave in and out of traffic.

'Ultimately this is about people. If we can save just one life it will have been a success. For the trial we want to use use a GPS tracker on the ambulaunce and in the future we want to handle more variables. 

'We want a clear understanding about prioritisation. It is not all about getting to the destination. It's management of prioritisation. Maybe you have five ambulances waiting to get back into base and stuck in a queue - that's the type of data we are trying to understand better.'

Computer modelling in Liverpool indicates that the AI could reduce response times by 40%, but the Oxford trial will be the first live test on the road. It is due to start by the end of the spring and is expected to last a year. 

Red Ninja has received £220,000 from Innovate UK to help develop the system and is working with partners Dynniq, Siemens, the Transport Systems Catapult and the NHS.

Ms Wynne said: 'We are talking to a lot of cities, including Portsmouth, which has congestion problems.'


Also see

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Part Time Community Rail Partnership Officer

Essex County Council
£24000 - £26275 per annum + Plus Excellent Benefits Package
Please note that this position is being offer on a part time basis, covering 23 hours per week. Working Pattern TBC. England, Essex, Rochford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Development Management Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
£24,313 to £34,788
To be successful you must... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Inspector

Hackney London Borough Council
£28,752 - £32,577
We are seeking an experienced Highways Inspector to join the Highways Team. Hackney, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hackney London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer and Grad EHO – Private Sector Housing with benefits* x 2

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £42,490
We have an exciting opportunity for two organised and enthusiastic Environment Health Officers  or a qualified graduate working towards their... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Ugobus Driver x 7 positions

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Please note that this is a 6 month fixed term contract on a part time basis. Working hours will be discussed at interview. The salary is up to £18,938 England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Highways Engineer

Rutland County Council
£29,636 - £31,371 per annum
Do you enjoy getting outdoors in the course of your work? Rutland
Recuriter: Rutland County Council

Senior Highways Manager

Rutland County Council
£47,544 to £51,138
This is the lead role for our Highways service with a remit to... Rutland
Recuriter: Rutland County Council

Road Safety Assistant (Cycling)

London Borough of Bexley
£13,947.32 - £14,713.97, per annum
You will be an enthusiastic individual who can effectively communicate with children and adults. Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Key Route Network Manager

Liverpool City Region
£63,753 - £71,747
An exciting new opportunity has arisen within the Integrated Transport Directorate of the LCR Combined Authority Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region

Medium/Heavy Vehicle Mechanic - January 2020

North West Leicestershire District Council
You could earn up to £28,785 + 0.75 hours per week plain time overtime
Tasks will include preparation for DVSA annual examination, servicing, general and defect generated repairs, fault finding including diagnostic tests. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Senior Engineer (Co-ordinator) - 2 jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£22,462 - £29,636 + £2000 Market Rate Supplement
The role is in the Highway Network Management & Co-ordination (HNMC) Team, which is part of Operational Services. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Surface Water Engineer

Essex County Council
£30001.0 - £35350 per annum
At Essex County Council, we're passionate about helping deliver economic growth, the best starts in life and the chance to age well for people in the England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Highways Operations Manager

Swindon Borough Council
Salary up to £41,494 p.a.
In this key role, you will plan, organise, co-ordinate and control the workforce Swindon, Wiltshire
Recuriter: Swindon Borough Council

Director Neighbourhood & Enforcement

Telford & Wrekin Council
Cicra 89k
Telford and Wrekin is a great place to live, work, visit and do business. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Engineer (Highways Maintenance Design)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£22,462 - £29,636
Are you looking for an opportunity to work as a Senior Engineer, whilst still being able to develop your career and have a good work-life balance? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Projects Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£33,153 - £35,755
Looking for strong team players interested in working with a variety of professional and community partners across Cambridgeshire and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Senior Heating Engineer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
Up to £48,692 per annum
Looking for a Senior Heating Engineer who will work as part of one of the small professional teams. London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Lead Practitioner (Infrastructure)

Newark & Sherwood District Council
£33,799 to £35,934 per annum
Newark and Sherwood is looking to recruit to its newly created post of Lead Practitioner for Infrastructure. Newark, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Newark & Sherwood District Council

Senior Parking Manager

Brent Council
£55,638 - £58,779 p.a. inc.
As Senior Parking Manager, you will be responsible for the effective management of the Council’s Parking Services contract Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

School Crossing Patrol

Brent Council
£21,591 - £22,377 p.a. inc. pro rata. (£11.50 per hour)
A school crossing patrol officer is responsible for assisting children to cross the road safely on their way to and from school. Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council