Gateway Ambulance: See the Data

The graphs below show Gateway’s reporting on its response times. There is a lot we can learn from it, and potentially many ways it can be used to improve service.

The data and analysis both suggest that response times are very fast under Gateway. That does not necessarily mean that the contract was well-negotiated. Please read my accompanying report to learn more:

There is still a lot we need to discuss about how to manage Gateway’s reporting to U. City to make sure we are getting the clarity and reliability our city needs. Come to one of my events (click to see the calendar) to talk more and share your thoughts! I am here to listen.

Key Conclusions

  • Mapping emergency calls can help us choose the best places to position our ambulances.
  • Visualizing average ambulance calls over the course of a day shows that we did need to reform our ambulance system to give drivers time to rest.
  • The Gateway case showed that we urgently need to modernize our government. I have interned in U. City Hall, and have seen that our staff are not being equipped with the technical tools and training they need to help provide true transparency. The result was an embarrassment for our city when City Hall was unable to meet citizen requests for data.
  • We need a system for residents to raise complaints, find more information, and get clarity when calls take too long.


Number of Calls (blue) and Ambulance Response Time (orange) over the course of a day.

Click here to see an interactive version:

Here we can see at each time of day, how many calls are made and how quickly our ambulances respond. The red line shows the 4.5 minute response time required in our contract with Gateway. Most calls are made between 9am and 9pm, but we can see that calls are coming in around the clock. This is partly why the fatigue factor is so important: previously, our firefighters had to drive the ambulances on 48-hour shifts, responding to calls constantly without the chance for adequate rest.

Number of Calls (blue) and Ambulance Response Time (orange) each month.

Click here to see an interactive version:

Here we can see each month how many ambulance calls were made, and how quickly our ambulances responded. In future, we can use this data to learn whether snowfall or increased traffic in summer months impact ambulance speed, and improve our ambulance system.

Every dot represents a call: we can see that while average times are very fast, there are many slower outliers. We should establish mechanisms to get more information on these cases, identify problem areas, and improve service.

Map of Ambulance Call Locations.

Every dot represents an ambulance call. The color of the dot represents how quickly our ambulances responded. Under the original Gateway contract, our ambulances were positioned with one at Ruth Park Golf Course and one in the Loop (as shown by the blue dots on the graph). When the first ambulance received a call, the second would start driving to Heman Park to be in a more central location. That flexibility was a reform we needed. Gateway can now relocate the ambulances as needed to improve response times. But there were many ways to achieve it, the contract with Gateway was not the only one, and our citizens needed to be involved to make sure that our solution reflected citizen values. Click here to learn more.