National Academies Press: OpenBook
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Transit Signal Priority: Current State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25816.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Transit Signal Priority: Current State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25816.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Transit Signal Priority: Current State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25816.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Transit Signal Priority: Current State of the Practice A Synthesis of Transit Practice Paul Anderson Texas a&M TransporTaTion insTiTuTe San Antonio, TX Michael J. Walk Chris Simek Texas a&M TransporTaTion insTiTuTe Austin, TX 2020 Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation Subject Areas Public Transportation • Operations and Traffic Management • Passenger Transportation T R A N S I T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M TCRP SYNTHESIS 149

TCRP SYNTHESIS 149 Project J-7, Topic SA-47 ISSN 1073-4880 ISBN 978-0-309-48145-8 © 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FTA, GHSA, NHTSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transporta- tion Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. Published reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nation’s growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Cur- rent systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating prob- lems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213—Research for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration—now the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem- solving research. TCRP, modeled after the successful National Coop- erative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit ser- vice providers. The scope of TCRP includes various transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organi- zations: FTA; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Commission. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Commission to formulate the research program by identi- fying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Commission defines funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- als), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired effect if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminat- ing TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agen- cies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, train- ing aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are imple- mented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs.

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Board’s varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.

CRP STAFF FOR TCRP SYNTHESIS 149 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm Smith, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program Mariela Garcia-Colberg, Senior Program Officer Sheila A. Moore, Program Associate Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications TCRP PROJECT J-7 PANEL Brad Miller, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), St. Petersburg, FL (Chair) Jameson Auten, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Kansas City, MO Mallory R. Avis, City of Battle Creek Transit, Battle Creek, MI Fabian Cevallos, Florida International University, Miami, FL Roderick B. Diaz, Southern California Regional Rail Authority, Los Angeles, CA Mark Donaghy, Greater Dayton RTA, Dayton, OH Christian T. Kent, Consultant, Virginia Beach, VA Ronald J. Kilcoyne, TMD, Walnut Creek, CA Elizabeth Presutti, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, Des Moines, IA Jarrett W. Stoltzfus, Proterra, Mt. Rainier, MD David C. Wilcock, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), Boston, MA Faith Hall, FTA Liaison Arthur L. Guzzetti, APTA Liaison William Terry, NTI Liaison TOPIC SA-47 PANEL James Bunch, Sabra & Associates, Silver Spring, MD Fabian Cevallos, Florida International University, Miami, FL Kristin Demasi, Metrolinx, Province of Ontario Canada, Toronto, ON Mark Irvine, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, D.C. Owen Kehoe, King County (WA) Metro Transit, Seattle, WA Robert Lim, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco, CA Taqhi Uddin Mohammed, Pace Suburban Bus, A Bus Division of Regional Transportation Authority, IL, Arlington Heights, IL Gary Nyberg, Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S

ABOUT THE TCRP SYNTHESIS PROGRAM Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This infor- mation may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Cooperative Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, “Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems,” searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP report series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. FOREWORD By Mariela Garcia-Colberg Staff Officer Transportation Research Board Bus transit signal priority (TSP) is an important tool that increases bus speeds and reliability, thereby improving transit system efficiency and effectiveness. Transit agencies implement a wide variety of TSP strategies and parameters, and they report different levels of benefits from TSP imple- mentations in various traffic conditions and right-of-way treatments (e.g., mixed versus dedicated guideway). Currently, only fragmented documentation exists on the TSP strategies and parameters in place at different agencies, and there has not been a systematic effort to understand the link between TSP strategies and parameters and the level of benefit realized. As agencies may have lim- ited understanding of what strategies and parameters are in use in other jurisdictions and how these decisions tie to the benefits of TSP, it is difficult to weigh the benefits against the tradeoffs involved. This synthesis documents the current practice of transit systems’ use of TSP to meet the different objectives under diverse conditions. It provides an overview of TSP strategies and parameters, the resulting benefits, and an assessment of to what extent the disparity in benefits realized is driven by strategy and parameter choices. The practical delivery from this synthesis is information that can help transit organizations make educated decisions about which TSP parameters to consider in their bus operations. A literature review and detailed survey responses from 46 transit agencies are provided. Detailed case examples of five different systems are also included in the report and provide additional insights on the state of the practice, including lessons learned, challenges, and gaps in information. Michael Walk, Paul Anderson, and Chris Simek from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute collected and synthesized the information and wrote the report under the guidance of a panel of subject matter experts. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on page iv. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowl- edge will be added to that now at hand.

AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors would like to thank the many individuals who contributed to this report, most importantly the oversight panel and the transit agency employees who spent their time completing the survey. The authors would especially like to thank the five transit agencies that participated in the case studies: • The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System • The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency • The Toronto Transit Commission • The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority • The King County Metro Transit Department Without the involvement of survey respondents and case example agencies, this synthesis (and many like it) would not be possible. In addition to the researchers listed on the title page, there are many staff and researchers who deserve gratitude for making this report possible through their contributions, especially Jinuk Hwang and James P. Cardenas.

1 Summary 3 Chapter 1 Introduction 3 Background 4 Definition of Terms 4 Objective and Scope 5 Report Organization 5 Introduction to Transit Signal Priority 9 Technical Approach to the Study 11 Chapter 2 Literature Review 11 Rationale for TSP Deployments 13 Current TSP Prevalence and Practices 14 Research on Transit Signal Priority 16 Summary of the Literature Review 17 Chapter 3 Survey Results 17 Survey Design 19 Deployment 21 Strategy, Business Rules, and Parameters 28 System Architecture 28 Additional Infrastructure Design Factors 31 TSP Performance Monitoring, Operations, and Maintenance 32 Lessons Learned, Benefits, and Challenges 35 Capital and Operating Costs 36 Chapter 4 Case Examples 36 San Diego Metropolitan Transit System 40 San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency 45 Toronto Transit Commission 52 Rhode Island Public Transit Authority 55 King County Metro Transit 66 Summary of Case Examples 68 Chapter 5 Conclusions and Further Research 68 Main Findings 70 Suggestions for Future Research 73 References 77 Appendix A Survey Instrument 101 Appendix B Responding Transit Agencies with TSP and Key Characteristics 103 Appendix C Survey Design Flowchart C O N T E N T S

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Public transit buses face many operational challenges—especially when operating on the same streets and roads as other vehicles. Buses can be slowed by traffic congestion and get repeatedly caught at traffic lights, slowing buses down and delaying both passengers on board and passengers waiting at stops farther along the route.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Synthesis 149: Transit Signal Priority: Current State of the Practice documents the current practice of TSP, which is an important tool that increases bus speeds and reliability, thereby improving transit system efficiency and effectiveness.

Twenty-eight (61%) of the 46 surveyed transit agencies had active TSP deployments, and 13 transit agencies (28%) either are in predeployment testing or have plans to pursue TSP in the future.

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