Calculating Drive Time Area Buffers with ArcGIS Online

The City of Auburn Hills has three fire stations within city limits. As first responders, it’s important to know how long it will take to get to an emergency from each station. In ArcGIS Online, we can calculate drive time buffers and display them on a map for the FD to use.

In ArcGIS online, we open a new map and import what are called layers (points, lines, and polygons of our data). In the video example below, we added a single point layer which represents Fire Station 1. We can then use the Analysis tool to calculate our drive time areas. We want to create a 4-minute buffer around Fire Station 1, meaning we want to see all the areas where a truck that is dispatched from Fire Station 1 can reach in 4 minutes or less. I didn’t use live traffic data for this example, so ESRI will make the calculations based on historic traffic data. Including reachable streets will show us all the streets that were used to create the buffer. After we run the analysis, it will add a nice buffer layer to our map as well as a line layer of our streets. Once completed we can make changes to the symbology (colors and transparency) to create a beautiful and informative map.

Maps, like the one below, are key to the success of the AHFD. Having this information at their fingertips helps them to make better decisions in emergencies as well as a multitude of other planning decisions.

Nichole Bowman, GIS Asset Management Specialist

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