Over half of the $3.25 million cost for the San Antonio Lifelink advanced telemedicine project was attributed to reseach and development.

From the San Antonio MMDI Evaluation Report: Section 6 - Improved Emergency Services

Made Public Date


San Antonio
United States

Summary Information

The LifeLink project was deployed to provide improved emergency service in the San Antonio, Texas area. LifeLink is an advanced application of telemedicine. The system supports voice and video teleconferencing between University Hospital and 10 of the ambulances in the San Antonio Fire Department. Video and data are transmitted between the ambulance and the hospital over the existing fiber optic network that was deployed as part of the San Antonio TransGuide. Radio antennas, or beacons, were placed at approximately 1 mile intervals along the TransGuide freeway network for transmission between the ambulance and the roadside fiber network. The hospital is connected to the freeway fiber network via a fiber optic line.

The total capital cost of the project was $3.25 million. Equipment on-board each ambulance included a video camera, two video monitors, headset, microphone, and computer. The hospital node equipment included a computer, video camera, headset, and fiber. Over half of the cost of the project is attributed to research and development as would be expected for the deployment of an advanced technology project. Although the cost of the fiber hubs to facilitate vehicle to roadside communication is a significant cost driver, the overall cost of the project would have been much higher if the project team had not been able to utilize the existing fiber optic network.

The annual operations and maintenance (O&M) cost was $25,325 and included maintenance costs for ambulance equipment and emergency medical service communication.

The table below provides a breakdown of the LifeLink project costs.


Equipment Quantity Capital Cost O&M Cost
Ambulance Node
Hospital Node (w/fiber)
Fiber Hub Install
Fiber Hub Install - Kits only
Lab Development Materials
Mobile Development Materials
Development Labor Costs
SWRI Development Labor Costs
Ambulance Equipment Maintenance
EMS Communication Maintenance


Metropolitan Model Deployment Initiative: San Antonio Evaluation Report - Final Draft

Metropolitan Model Deployment Initiative: San Antonio Evaluation Report - Final Draft
Publication Sort Date
Carter, M., et al.
Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
Other Reference Number
Report No. FHWA-OP-00-017

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System Cost

Capital cost: $3.25 million (1998). Annual O&M cost: $25,325 (1998).