Factors Influencing Effectiveness of Transit Signal Priority and Late-Bus Recovery at Signalized-Intersection Level

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - reliability, operations - performance, mode - bus, infrastructure - traffic signals, place - north america


transit priority, traffic signals, transit signal priority (TSP), late buses


Transit priority systems have the potential to improve transit performance and address capacity constraints by giving priority to transit movements over other traffic. This research focused on the effectiveness of conditional transit priority or the manipulation of traffic signal timing plans to reduce delay of late transit buses. The integration of two transportation subsystems—traffic signals and public transit systems—was studied. These subsystems interact along a congested corridor where they share a common roadway infrastructure and transit signal priority (TSP) regulates the interaction between traffic signals, passenger traffic, and buses. Previous research has focused on the evaluation of bus TSP performance at the route level. In practice, it is important to understand not only TSP performance at the route level but also the impact of TSP at the level of the traffic signal intersection (e.g., to allow progression in major cross streets). TSP can significantly improve performance at specific intersections, even though at the route level TSP shows a more modest impact. This study proposed the integration of several data sets such as bus scheduling and location, passenger flows, and TSP requests to evaluate schedule adherence at the stop level and TSP performance at the level of the signalized intersection. A congested arterial corridor was analyzed and regression analysis was used to determine the key factors that affect bus travel time and schedule recovery for late buses. TSP was found to be most effective at lower-volume intersections where queuing was less problematic. Implications of the findings are analyzed and discussed.


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