Emergency Vehicle simulation#

The simulation of emergency vehicles and their special rights is possible with SUMO.

Vehicle Class 'emergency'#

If a vehicle is assigned a vType with vClass="emergency", the following features are activated:

  • the vehicle will receive default shape and size for a rescue vehicle
  • the vehicle may drive on lanes that allow "emergency" (but which might disallow normal passenger traffic)
  • the vehicle may overtake on the right in all traffic situations
  • the vehicle may drive through the opposite direction edge even when it's own edge has multiple usable lanes
  • the vehicle may overtake through the opposite direction edge even when it's leader vehicle also wants to change left
  • the vehicle may overtake through the opposite direction edge even when it's approaching an intersection without priority
  • the vehicle may overtake through the opposite direction edge even when it must overtake a long column of vehicles (up to 1000m)

Blue Light Device#

A Blue light device indicates that the emergency vehicle is driving with special rights (using blue flashing light and sirene). The device activates the following features:

  • the vehicle will ignore red traffic lights
  • once the vehicle is jammed (waitingTime > 1s) it will perform lane changing without regard for strategic considerations (it will use any lane that allows to advance along the road)
  • if the vehicle is at an intersection but on the wrong turning lane, it will enter the intersection anyway (performing a silent teleport to the closest internal lane that allows continuing it's route

If the simulation is running with the sublane model (--lateral-resolution is set to a value > 0), other traffic participants are forced to form a virtual middle lane (rescue lane) to let the emergency vehicle pass. The following behaviors are activated for surrounding traffic ahead of the device-equipped vehicle

  • Vehicles on the leftmost lane move towards the left side (latAlignment="left")
  • Vehicles on all other lanes move towards the right side (latAlignment="right")
  • Vehicles do not perform any lane changes (in particular, they do not move into the rescue lane)
  • After the emergency vehicle has passed the vehicles resume normal driving (with their previous lateral Alignment).

Surrounding traffic reacts when within 25m. This distance is configurable by

  • option --device.bluelight.reactiondist
  • traci.vehicle.setParameter(vehID, "device.bluelight.reactiondist", str(value)

Further Features for driving with special rights#

  • Disregarding right-of-way and traffic lights:
  • Exceeding the speed limit: This is supported by setting the vType-attribute speedFactor (a value of 1.5 allows driving with 150% of the road speed limit).

Example configuration#

<vType id="rescue" vClass="emergency" speedFactor="1.5">
   <param key="has.bluelight.device" value="true"/>


The visualization of emergency vehicles is supported in sumo-gui. When setting the vType-attribute guiShape="emergency" a white vehicle with the international sign for first aid is drawn. Furthermore a police car will be drawn with vType-attribute guiShape="police" and a firebrigade with vType-attribute guiShape="firebrigade". When additionally setting the vType-attribute vClass="emergency" a blue flashing light will be drawn also.



Bieker, Laura (2015) Traffic safety evaluations for Emergency Vehicles. Young Researchers Seminar, 17.-19. June 2015, Rome, Italy.

Bieker, Laura (2011) Emergency Vehicle Prioritization using Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication. Young Researchers Seminar, 8.-10. June 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark.