January 19, 2018Article

Next City: This Map of New Orleans Might Save a Life

by Jared Brey

Local/ Local Government Fellows/ 2018/

Where do ambulance drivers park when they’re waiting for a call? And how close are they to the areas where calls are likeliest to originate?

The City of New Orleans wanted to know. Between 2014 and 2016, the city saw a 12 percent spike in emergency medical calls. During the same period, EMS teams struggled to keep up with demand, with the portion of calls being addressed in less than 12 minutes falling from 80 percent to 72 percent. But by adjusting where ambulances idle between calls—based on both traffic patterns and the volume of emergency calls—the city was able to reduce response times during the night shift and improve service to two of its worst-served neighborhoods.

That’s according to a new report from Results for America, a nonprofit that tries to help local governments create evidence-based solutions to urban problems. The group invites local government leaders to participate in fellowships that put them in contact with their peers in other cities, to exchange ideas for improving government work. The New Orleans case study was one of four that the group published in early January, highlighting the work of Results for America fellows in various cities. The group also reported on work in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, and plans to release a dozen more case studies this year.