Policy-Making Tool for Optimization of Transit Priority Lanes in Urban Network

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, planning - travel demand management


transit improvements, low cost, bus priority, bus lane


Transit improvement is an effective way to relieve traffic congestion and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Improvement can be in the form of new facilities or giving on-road priority to transit. Although construction of off-road mass transit is not always viable, giving priority to transit can be a low-cost alternative. A framework is introduced for optimization of bus priority at the network level. The framework identifies links on which a bus lane should be located. Allocation of a lane to transit vehicles would increase the utility of transit, although this can be a disadvantage to auto traffic. The approach balances the impact on all stakeholders. Automobile advocates would like to increase traffic road space, and the total travel time of users and total emissions of the network could be reduced by a stronger priority scheme. A bilevel optimization is applied that encompasses an objective function at the upper level and a mode choice, a traffic assignment, and a transit assignment model at the lower level. The proposed optimization helps transport authorities to quantify the outcomes of various strategies of transit priority. A detailed sensitivity analysis is carried out on the relative weight of each factor in the objective function. The proposed framework can also be applied in the context of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes and heavy-vehicle priority lanes.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.