Adaptive control algorithm to provide bus priority with a pre-signal

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - car, place - urban, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, infrastructure - traffic signals, infrastructure - bus/tram lane


Pre-signal, Bus lane, Transit priority, Public transport, Adaptive control


In urban areas, where road space is limited, it is important to provide efficient public and private transportation systems to maximize person throughput, for example from a signalized intersection. To this end, this research looks at providing bus priority using a dedicated bus lane which is terminated upstream of the intersection, and placing an additional signal at this location, called a pre-signal. Although pre-signals are already implemented in some countries (e.g. UK, Denmark, and Switzerland), an adaptive control algorithm which responds to varying traffic demands has not yet been proposed and analyzed in the literature. This research aims to fill that gap by developing an adaptive control algorithm for pre-signals tailored to real-time private and public transportation demands. The necessary infrastructure to operate an adaptive pre-signal is established, and guidelines for implementation are provided. The relevant parameters regarding the boundary conditions for the adaptive algorithm are first determined, and then quantified for a typical case using a micro-simulation model. It is demonstrated with case studies that, under all considered scenarios, implementing a pre-signal with the proposed adaptive control algorithm will result in the least average person delay at the intersection. The algorithm is expected to function well with a wide range of car demands, bus frequencies, and bus passenger occupancies. Moreover, the algorithm is robust to errors in these input values, so exact information is not required.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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