PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (4): 431-439.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.04.004

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Estimating the effect of traffic congestion on accessibility to emergency medical care services: Take Guangzhou as an example

Jianguo CHEN1(), Suhong ZHOU1,3, Lin LIU1,2,*(), Luzi XIAO1, Guangwen SONG1   

  1. 1. School of Geography Science and Planning/Center of Integrated Geographic Information Analysis, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Hamilton OH 45221-0131, USA
    3. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-Simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Online:2016-04-27 Published:2016-04-27
  • Contact: Lin LIU;
  • Supported by:
    Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41531178;National Natural Science Foundation for Outstanding Youth, No.4152210]


Time is a sensitive factor in emergency medical service (EMS). The spatial and temporal differences of EMS accessibility are important for the assessment of siting of emergency facilities and the efficiency of emergency service dispatch. Traffic congestion is a common problem in the central areas of cities, and the impact of congestion on EMS accessibility cannot be ignored. In this study, the impact of traffic congestion on the temporal and spatial accessibility to EMS in the city of Guangzhou was analyzed by using the floating car data. The results show that: (1) During rush hours, the average and longest time between 120 hospitals and communities are 17% and 19% higher respectively than using standard road speed. (2) The accessibility of EMS to an emergency hospital as the center decays along the road network. The accessibility of EMS is high where the emergency hospital number is large and the road network is dense, and vice versa. The impact of traffic congestion on EMS accessibility is significant in areas where the road network and traffic rule are complex. (3) With the increase of time impedance, accessibility change slowed. This trend is more obvious in off-rush hours. Therefore, real-time traffic condition should be considered in research on EMS accessibility to optimize EMS scheduling and improve the efficiency.

Key words: Emergency Medical Service (EMS), spatial-temporal accessibility, floating car, big data, traffic congestion, Guangzhou City