Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - traffic signals, planning - travel demand management, planning - travel demand management, planning - route design, ridership - demand, organisation - management, place - urban, mode - bus


York (England), Urban areas, Trip reduction, Travel demand management, Travel behavior, Transportation demand management, Traffic signal timing, Traffic signal settings, Traffic restraint, Traffic models, Traffic mitigation, Traffic control, Thessaloniki (Greece), Thessalonika (Greece), TDM measures, Settings (Traffic signals), Route selection, Route choice, Pretimed traffic signal controllers, Pretimed control, Porto (Portugal), Oporto (Portugal), Operational tests, Mitigation measures, Fixed time traffic signals, Fixed time controllers, Demonstration projects, Bus priority


Urban traffic control (UTC) is an inexpensive, readily available tool that is underused for travel demand management. Although it has long been understood that traffic is likely to reroute in response to signal settings, the goal of a UTC system is still often perceived as to get the vehicle through the junction as quickly as possible. The main exception is vehicle-actuated signals, which attempt to speed journeys for public transport by arranging a green-wave to transponder-equipped vehicles. There is, however, considerable potential in making use of the propensity of drivers to reroute in response to UTC, especially as a subtle tool for traffic demand management (TDM). The MUSIC (Management of traffic USIng Control) project, funded by the European Union, attempts to demonstrate some of this potential by using on-site demonstrations. In three cities, network models have been used to create fixed-time signal settings, which attempt to meet the TDM goals of the city authorities. The three sites were York, where bus-actuated presignals are used both to "gate" traffic and give priority to buses; Porto, where a citywide signal-setting policy is designed to reduce car congestion, favor well-used public transport routes, and discourage cars from entering pedestrian-sensitive areas; and Thessaloniki, where a citywide signal-setting policy is designed to reduce car congestion while favoring the most-used public transport routes. The modeling techniques used to produce the signal-setting plans are discussed, as are initial encouraging results from the demonstration sites.