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Project Objective

The objectives of the proposed research include the following: To assess the impacts of and the implementation issues associated with the use of bus signal priority in New Jersey; To develop operational test plans for implementing signal priority at promising locations; and To assess the benefit and costs of signal priority. The operational plans to be developed will identify a limited number of locations where signal priority could be tested. An evaluation plan and budgeting information would also be provided so that the benefits and costs of implementing signal priority could be assessed. The requirements for implementing signal priority at the locations identified will be determined. These requirements include possible modification of local ordinates, operating costs, resource requirements, and the compatibility of signal priority with the local signal systems.

Project Abstract

The overall objective of this project is to develop an implementation plan for use of bus signal priority in New Jersey. To achieve this objective, the research team will conduct several activities including a comprehensive literature search, survey agencies that have implemented transit signal priority systems, simulate the operation of signal priority systems using traffic simulation models, identify candidate locations for implementation, and conduct cost-benefit analysis of alternative implementation strategies. The research team has extensive experience in all areas of the project including conducting literature reviews, using traffic simulation, and developing implementation plans. Use of traffic simulation would be a unique and important component on this research effort. The research team will evaluate available traffic simulation packages including W A Tsim, a unique traffic simulation package developed by KLD Associates and being utilized to evaluate signal priority strategies for the light rail transit system that is part of Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA).

Task Descriptions

To accomplish the objectives of the proposed research, the following tasks will be performed:

Task 1. Conduct a literature search of the current state of the practice. This includes National and International sources. This task will involve a comprehensive and critical review of studies in the USA and other countries that have looked at transit signal priority systems. One objective of the review will be to evaluate the effectiveness of different strategies / algorithms that have been used in previous research to provide signal priority.

Task 2. Develop a list of locations where traffic signal priority systems have been installed to collect information on the impacts and implementation issues encountered and oversee these agencies. This task will utilize the results of the literature search to identify the list of locations where signal priority systems have been installed. This task will be accomplished by reviewing journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, and if necessary, directly contacting the agencies in U.S. and other countries that implemented the priority.

Task 3. Work with NJ Transit to identify locations and develop operational test plan for implementation priority at locations.

Task 4. Develop operational test plans to assess the benefit and costs of signals.

Task 5. Prepare quarterly progress and final report with appropriate tables.

Student Involvement

Both graduate and undergraduate students will participate in the project tasks. Their involvement will include data collection, data analysis, and computer applications.

Relationship with Other Research Activities


Technology Transfer Activities

The findings and results of this research will provide agencies with guidance on implementing signal priority in New Jersey. To ensure that the findings and results of this research are implemented on a broad scale, an implementation plan will be developed to provide guidance and programs stating how this research can be implemented within various agencies, counties and other municipalities. As part of the implementation plan, individuals that would benefit from the results of this research will be identified. The audience for this research includes agencies and departments in the State and local agencies responsible for providing transit service and those who operate traffic signal systems. The implementation plan will also identify possible obstacles for the State and local agencies to implement the research results. Obstacles in terms of data needs and training are some of the areas that will be explored. The implementation plan will address these obstacles providing guidance for reducing, or where possible, eliminating potential obstacles to implementing the research results. The implementation plan will also include procedures for assessing whether the research results were successfully implemented.

Benefits of the Project

The expected products from this research include: intermediate and fmal reports describing an overview of the research; a comprehensive state-of-the-practice on the use of signal priority in the United States and abroad; operational test plans for use in field testing the most promising sites for use of signal priority in New Jersey; and conference and journal papers on various aspects of this research. The intermediate and final reports will document the entire research effort including the findings on the analysis of the operational test plans. These reports will provide a discussion of conditions where signal priority has potential for improving transit travel times and vehicular speeds on the arterial. A set of operational test plans outlining a procedure for implementing and assessing signal priority at promising locations will be provided. These operational test plans will provide sufficient detail to allow a field implementation of signal priority .

Additional products from this research include conference and journal papers describing the research performed. At a minimum, papers will be submitted for presentation at the Transportation Research Board Annual meeting and conferences related to signal systems. Papers will also be submitted for publication in transportation journals such as the Journal of Transportation Engineering, Institute for Transportation Engineers Journal and others.

The audience for this research includes transit agencies and State and local Departments of Transportation. These agencies will be provided with information on the requirements, obstacles and possible solutions for overcoming obstacles associates with implementing signal priority . The operational test plans will provide details of the benefits and costs associated with implementing signal priority and will allow these agencies to make informed decisions about whether signal priority should be further pursued in New Jersey.