Microscopic Simulation Approach to Effectiveness Analysis of Transit Signal Priority for Bus Rapid Transit: A Case Study in Beijing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, mode - bus, mode - bus rapid transit


VISSIM (Computer model), Vehicle mix, Travel time, Traffic simulation, Traffic flow, Traffic delay, Traffic composition, Schedule maintenance, Peking (China), Nonmotorized transportation, Mixed traffic, Journey time, Case studies, Bus rapid transit, Bus priority, Beijing (China)


Transit signal priority (TSP) is one of the critical components of bus rapid transit (BRT) and a key technology in enhancing its operational efficacy. It not only provides priority to the BRT vehicle but also manages the trade-off between the delay of buses at an intersection and the impacts on other traffic. This paper focuses on the design and evaluation of a simulation of signal priority for BRT under mixed traffic flow conditions. Taking the Southern Axis BRT Line 1 in Beijing as a case study, different signal priority strategies, including green extension, red truncation, and special phase insertion, are developed for the signalized intersection along the BRT route. A signal coordination plan is designed for the section composed of four intersections in the BRT system. The study uses the VISSIM microscopic traffic simulation model to analyze the impacts of traffic parameters, especially those of nonmotorized traffic, on the effectiveness of TSP along the corridor. Simulation results indicated that the BRT vehicles would typically benefit from transit priority with travel times savings and delay reduction, as well as greater schedule adherence, and suggest that these benefits may be obtained with little negative impacts to the overall system. The results also indicated that the volume of nonmotorized traffic is one of the most important factors that influence the effectiveness of TSP implementation in a mixed traffic flow.