Ladder Truck Response Using GIS

Blog_LadderTruckResponseUsingGIS.png

For local government, a Geographic Information System (GIS) can
provide many helpful services, from basic map product development to
complicated utility systems mapping. It can also provide communities
with a powerful tool to analyze interactions between various spatial
features and generate information that would not otherwise be available.
For the City of Des Plaines, IL, GIS was recently used to analyze the
response areas of the Fire Department’s ladder trucks and how they are
influenced by the numerous railroad crossings that dot the City
landscape.

Currently, there are 33 commuter and freight line at-grade railroad
crossings in the City limits, which can cause serious delays to daily
traffic flows and emergency response efforts. To help show how the
coverage areas of the City’s two ladder trucks are impacted by these
delays, the Fire Department asked the City’s GIS department to run an
analysis that took into account three main factors: speed limit,
railroad crossing locations, and average delay times for each commuter
and freight line. Including speed limit in the analysis is critical
for modeling how fast a truck can travel along a road, which impacts how
far it can go within a given amount of time. By including the railroad
crossing locations and average delay times, in combination with the
speed limit information, the GIS department was able to show that speed
of travel along a road, while important, is not the only relevant factor
in how the City’s coverage areas are determined.

While the Fire Department knew that railroad crossings severally
impacted the City’s coverage areas prior to the running analysis, having
a visual representation of this information was critical for
understanding how drastic these areas are reduced when a delay occurs.
Using GIS to model the interactions between all the factors involved in
the analysis has provided the department with a powerful tool for
developing alternate response routes and coverage plans that,
ultimately, provide better and more effective fire protection to the
City residents.

Ladder Truck Response Using GIS

Blog_LadderTruckResponseUsingGIS.png

For local government, a Geographic Information System (GIS) can
provide many helpful services, from basic map product development to
complicated utility systems mapping. It can also provide communities
with a powerful tool to analyze interactions between various spatial
features and generate information that would not otherwise be available.
For the City of Des Plaines, IL, GIS was recently used to analyze the
response areas of the Fire Department’s ladder trucks and how they are
influenced by the numerous railroad crossings that dot the City
landscape.

Currently, there are 33 commuter and freight line at-grade railroad
crossings in the City limits, which can cause serious delays to daily
traffic flows and emergency response efforts. To help show how the
coverage areas of the City’s two ladder trucks are impacted by these
delays, the Fire Department asked the City’s GIS department to run an
analysis that took into account three main factors: speed limit,
railroad crossing locations, and average delay times for each commuter
and freight line. Including speed limit in the analysis is critical
for modeling how fast a truck can travel along a road, which impacts how
far it can go within a given amount of time. By including the railroad
crossing locations and average delay times, in combination with the
speed limit information, the GIS department was able to show that speed
of travel along a road, while important, is not the only relevant factor
in how the City’s coverage areas are determined.

While the Fire Department knew that railroad crossings severally
impacted the City’s coverage areas prior to the running analysis, having
a visual representation of this information was critical for
understanding how drastic these areas are reduced when a delay occurs.
Using GIS to model the interactions between all the factors involved in
the analysis has provided the department with a powerful tool for
developing alternate response routes and coverage plans that,
ultimately, provide better and more effective fire protection to the
City residents.