Sensitivity Analysis of the Transit Signal Priority Requesting Threshold and the Impact on Bus Performance and General Traffic

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - urban, infrastructure - traffic signals, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, operations - performance, operations - traffic


transit signal priority (TSP), bus route, on-time performance (OTP), traffic


An analysis was performed to evaluate the impact of changing the transit signal priority (TSP) requesting threshold on bus performance and general traffic, using field-generated data exclusively. Route 217, a conventional bus route that uses a dedicated short-range communication (DSRC)-based TSP system as part of its normal day-to-day operations, was analyzed over a three-month period from May 2019 through August 2019. The requesting thresholds evaluated for Route 217 were 3, 2, and 0 min, which stipulate how far behind schedule the bus must be to request TSP. For each requesting threshold, bus performance was evaluated through on-time performance (OTP), schedule deviation, travel time, and dwell time, while the traffic analysis was performed by evaluating split failure, change in green time, and the frequency at which TSP was served. A combination of observational and statistical analyses concluded with convincing evidence that OTP, schedule deviation, and travel time improve as the requesting threshold approaches zero with negligible impacts on general traffic. As the requesting threshold changed from 3, to 2, to 0 min, OTP increased 2.0% and 2.5%, respectively; mean schedule deviation improved by 15.9 s and 20.9 s, respectively; and travel time decreased at 75% of timepoints. Meanwhile, negative impacts to traffic occurred if an increase in split failure was measured after TSP was served, a phenomenon observed a maximum of once every 43 min. Thus, it is concluded that bus performance improves as the requesting threshold approaches zero with inconsequential impacts on general traffic.


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