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Transit Management > Operations & Fleet Management > Transit Signal Priority


Transit signal priority systems use sensors to detect approaching transit vehicles and alter signal timings to improve transit performance. For example, some systems extend the duration of green signals for public transportation vehicles when necessary.


A connected vehicle pilot project involving over 1,600 vehicles in Tampa's central business district was estimated to cost $17.7 million.

The overall cost to implement a region-wide Traffic Management System in Portland Oregon was estimated at $36 million.(09/01/2013)

Costs to deploy an Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) system in Minneapolis for ten years is estimated at $3.96 million.(November 2010)

The cost to develop, implement, and document the deployment of an adaptive signal control and transit signal priority upgrade on the Atlanta Smart Corridor was estimated at $1.7 million.(30 June 2010)

The capital cost to install a next generation transit signal priority system in the Portland area was estimated at $500,000.(06/01/2010)

Transit signal priority detection systems range from $2,500 to $40,000 per intersection and $50 to $2,500 per vehicle, depending on the type of detection used.(2010)

Driver assist and automation systems can substantially increase the cost of a new bus.(2007)

The capital costs to implement TSP range from $5,000 per intersection (if existing software and controller equipment are used) to $20,000 to $30,000 per intersection (if software and control equipment are replaced).(May 2005)

The annualized life-cycle costs for full ITS deployment and operations in Tucson were estimated at $72.1 million. (May 2005)

A modeling study evaluated the potential deployment of full ITS capabilities in Cincinnati. The annualized life-cycle cost was estimated at $98.2 million.(May 2005)

The annualized life-cycle costs for full ITS deployment and operations in Seattle were estimated at $132.1 million.(May 2005)

The costs of the in-vehicle components of precision docking technology ranged from $2,700 to $14,000 per bus depending on the number of units produced.(August 2004)

TMC central hardware costs can exceed $200,000 if regional communications and system integration are required.(5 August 2004)

The ITS components for the Bus Rapid Transit system in the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada costs $5.8 million (Canadian).(August 2003)

The cost of stage one of the Watt Avenue ITS corridor in Sacramento, California was estimated at $1.5 million.(May 2003)

Implementation costs for transit signal priority range from $8,000 to $35,000 per intersection.(11 July 2002)

In Los Angeles, California, transit signal priority for BRT cost approximately $20,000 per intersection, or $100,000 per mile.(July 2001)

In Chattanooga, Tennessee a transit signal priority system with 27 buses and 10 intersections was installed for $250,000.(22 June 2001)

The costs to implement a transit signal priority demonstration project in Los Angeles, California was $10 million.(January 2001)

Signal controller assembly - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Signal controller assembly - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Signal controller assembly - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Signal preemption system - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Signal controller assembly - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Vehicle detection - infrared - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Vehicle detection - optical - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Signal controller assembly - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Signal preemption system - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Signal controller assembly - Capital cost/unit - $5360.96(2/4/2013)

Transit signal priority software integration - Capital cost/unit - $75000 - O&M cost/unit - $7500(February 2009)

Transit signal priority hardware - Capital cost/unit - $10900 - O&M cost/unit - $435(February 2009)

Transit vehicle emitter - Capital cost/unit - $75000 - O&M cost/unit - $7500(February 2009)

Transit vehicle emitter - Capital cost/unit - $75000 - O&M cost/unit - $7500(February 2009)

Transit signal priority software integration - Capital cost/unit - $75000 - O&M cost/unit - $7500(February 2009)

Transit signal priority hardware - Capital cost/unit - $10900 - O&M cost/unit - $435(February 2009)

Transit Signal Priority (TSP) logic that resolves conflicting TSP requests can reduce bus intersection delay up to 57 percent compared to conventional first-come-first-serve TSP strategies.(06/01/2016)

Bus rapid transit could reduce travel time by 20 percent compared to conventional bus service.(02/26/2016)

In Orlando, Transit Signal Priority and Bus Rapid Transit systems were estimated to reduce travel times up to 26 percent for all vehicles and reduce delays up to 64 percent for buses. (01/11/2016)

Implementing bus rapid transit concepts on Brooklyn, New York’s B44 bus route reduced traffic volume by 9 to 13 percent on arterials served by the route.(01/11/2016)

Signal Priority operations shown to improve connected bus travel times by 8.2 percent and connected truck travel times by 39.7 percent.

Transit Priority Corridor planned for San Francisco estimates to amass $227.4 million in safety benefits from 2020-2050.(08/01/2015)

A multi-modal ICM strategy designed for the I-95/I-395 corridor has potential to increase person throughput 14 to 38 percent.(June 2014)

A multi-modal ICM strategy designed for the I-95/I-395 corridor has potential to reduce average travel times 48 to 58 percent.(June 2014)

A multi-modal ICM strategy designed for the I-95/I-395 corridor has projected benefit-to-cost ratios ranging from 4:1 to 6:1.(June 2014)

A multi-modal ICM solution for the I-95/I-395 corridor would cost approximately $7.45 Million per year.(June 2014)

A multi-modal ICM strategy designed for the I-95/I-395 corridor has potential to reduce fuel consumption 33 to 34 percent.(June 2014)

Transit Signal Priority in San Antonio’s metropolitan transit system decreases travel time by up to 20 percent.

A typical signal timing project in Portland saves over 300 metric tons of CO2 annually per retimed traffic signal.(09/01/2013)

An adaptive signal timing system in Gresham, Oregon reduced average travel times by 10 percent.(09/01/2013)

Transit signal priority in the Portland metro area can reduce transit delay by 30 to 40 percent and improve travel times 2 to 16 percent.(09/01/2013)

Electric vehicles can save 50 to 85 percent in fueling costs per year.(06/02/2012)

Schedule adherence and speed-based transit signal priority system in Minneapolis reduced travel times by 3 to 6 percent more than a traditional transit signal priority system on the same route.(October 2011)

In Washington D.C., allowing transit vehicles priority during a no-notice evacuation resulted in a 26 percent time saving for transit buses without impacting on personal vehicle travel time.(May 2011)

In Staten Island, New York City, a transit signal priority pilot along a 2.3 mile corridor reduced travel times by approximately 17 percent.(May 2011)

Navigation systems with eco-routing features can improve fuel economy by 15 percent.(January 2011)

Simulated deployment of Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) technologies on the I-394 corridor in Minneapolis show a benefit-cost ratio of 22:1 over ten years.(November 2010)

Transit Signal Priority implemented in Chicago found a 4 to 15 percent reduction in bus travel time, 51 to 54 percent reduction in bus travel time variance, and annual fuel consumption savings of 131 gallons for bus routes 49 and X49.(09/08/2010)

Deploying transit signal priority systems may reduce transit bus delay in Burlington, Vermont by 14.2 to 16.5 percent on Route 15 and by 2.5 to 7 percent on the Old North Route, without producing delays for non-priority traffic.(July 2010)

After presence detection, adaptive signal control, and transit signal priority were implemented on the Atlanta Smart Corridor total fuel consumption decreased by 34 percent across all peak periods.(30 June 2010)

After presence detection, adaptive signal control, and transit signal priority were implemented on the Atlanta Smart Corridor total travel time decreased by 22 percent and total vehicle delay decreased by 40 percent across all peak periods.(30 June 2010)

Adaptive signal control, transit signal priority, and intersection improvements implemented during the Atlanta Smart Corridor project produced a benefit-to-cost ratio ranging from 23.2:1 to 28.2:1.(30 June 2010)

Implementation of an adaptive transit signal priority system resulted in 5 percent reductions in running time and 18 to 32 percent reductions in bus intersection delays in San Mateo County.(June 2010)

Transit signal priority reduced average bus travel times by 7.5 and 15 percent along major bus corridors in Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively.(2010)

In Waterloo, Canada, express bus service equipped with ITS technologies results in 3,650 tons annual decrease in green house gas emissions.(December 2009)

Queue jumper transit signal priority (TSP) can reduce bus delay by 3 to 17 percent over mixed-traffic TSP design.(2009)

In Snohomish County, Washington State, implementation of a transit signal priority system on two test corridors reduced average transit corridor travel time by 4.9 percent, and had insignificant negative impacts on local cross street traffic.(15 June 2007)

Bus rapid transit (BRT) can reduce transit running times by 38 to 69 percent, increase ridership by 35 to 77 percent, and improve service reliability.(2007)

Implementing Transit Signal Priority (TSP) can improve bus running times by 2 to 18 percent.(2007)

Comprehensive proposed transit ITS implementation proposes numerous operational efficiency and customer satisfaction benefits.(24 August 2006)

Transit signal priority deployment along a 4 mile corridor can reduce bus travel times by 5 percent.(2005)

In the central area of Chicago, a feasibility study indicated that driver assistance technologies and transit signal priority for bus rapid transit would be cost-effective.(August 2004)

Surveys found that riders on Vancouver's 98 B-line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, which implemented transit signal priority to improve schedule reliability, rated the service highly with regard to on-time performance and service reliability (an average of 8 points on a 10 point scale).(29 September 2003)

When transit signal priority was not used in Portland, Oregon; bus travel times increased up to 4.2 percent during peak periods and up to 1.5 percent in non-peak periods.(19-22 May 2003)

In Dallas, Texas, simulation found that transit signal priority reduced bus travel time up to 11 percent during peak periods, reduced car travel times up to 16 percent, vehicle delay up to 4 percent and person delay up to 6 percent.(14-17 October 2002)

Simulation of a transit signal priority system in Helsinki, Finland indicated that fuel consumption decreased by 3.6 percent, Nitrogen oxides were reduced by 4.9 percent, Carbon monoxide decreased by 1.8 percent, hydrocarbons declined by 1.2 percent, and particulate matter decreased by 1.0 percent.(13-17 January 2002.)

During the A.M. peak period, transit signal priority on an arterial route in Arlington, Virginia could reduce bus travel time by 4.0 to 9.1 percent, decrease person delay of bus passengers by 6.5 to 14.2 percent, and reduce transit vehicle stops by 1.5 to 2.9 percent.(13-17 January 2002)

In Helsinki, Finland a transit signal priority system improved on-time arrival by 22 to 58 percent and real-time passenger information displays were regarded as useful by 66 to 95 percent of passengers.(13-17 January 2002.)

A transit signal priority system in Helsinki, Finland reduced delay by 44 to 48 percent, decreased travel time by 1 to 11 percent, and reduced travel time by 35,800 to 67,500 passenger-hours per year. (13-17 January 2002.)

During the A.M. peak period, transit signal priority on an arterial route in Arlington, Virginia could increase carbon monoxide emissions by 5.6 percent and decrease nitrogen emissions by 1.7 percent.(13-17 January 2002)

Evaluation of several transit signal priority systems found decreased bus travel time variability by 35 percent, lowered bus travel times by 6 to 27 percent, reduced AM peak intersection delay by 13 percent, and decreased signal-related bus stops by 50 percent.(January 2002)

A before-and-after study found that transit patrons experienced a smoother and more comfortable ride when a transit signal priority system was implemented in Seattle, Washington. (January 2002)

In Los Angeles, transit signal priority reduced total transit travel time by approximately 25 percent.(July 2001)

In Tucson, Arizona and Seattle Washington models indicated adaptive signal control in conjunction with transit signal priority can decrease delay for travelers on main streets by 18.5 percent while decreasing delay for travelers on cross-streets by 28.4 percent.(7-13 January 2001)

A transit priority system along an urban arterial in Vancouver, Canada reduced bus travel time variability by 29 and 59 percent during AM and PM peak periods, respectively.(6-10 August 2000)

Implementing traffic signal priority for a light-rail transit line in Toronto, Canada allowed system operators to remove one vehicle from service and maintain the same level of service to passengers.(6-10 August 2000)

At an intersection in Eindhoven, the Netherlands a transit signal priority system reduced bus schedule deviation by 17 seconds. (1-4 May 2000)

When conditional priority was deployed in Eindhoven, the Netherlands; buses experienced 27 seconds of delay without priority and no significant change in delay under conditional priority. (9-13 January 2000)

In Toronto, Canada adaptive signal control reduced ramp queues by 14 percent, decreased delay up to 42 percent, and reduced travel time by 6 to 11 percent; and transit signal priority reduced transit delay by 30 to 40 percent and travel time by 2 to 6 percent. (8-12 November 1999)

When bus priority was used with an adaptive signal control system in London, England average bus delay was reduced by 7 to 13 percent and average bus delay variability decreased by 10 to 12 percent. (6-12 November 1999)

A transit signal priority system in Southampton, England reduced bus fuel consumption by 13 percent, lowered bus emissions by 13 to 25 percent, increased fuel consumption for other vehicles by 6 percent, and increased the emissions of other vehicles up to 9 percent.(1999)

A bus priority system in Sapporo City, Japan reduced bus travel times by 6 percent, decreased the number of stops by 7 percent, and reduced the stopped time of buses by 21 percent.(1999)

A transit signal priority system in Eastleigh, England reduced bus delay by 9 seconds/vehicle/intersection and increased delay for other traffic by 2.2 seconds/vehicle/intersection. (1999)

A transit signal priority system in Eastleigh, England reduced bus fuel consumption by 19 percent and reduced bus emissions by 15 to 30 percent, and increased fuel consumption for other vehicles by 5 percent and increased the emissions of other vehicles up to 11 percent.(1999)

A transit signal priority system in Southampton, England reduced bus delay by 9.5 seconds/vehicle/intersection and increased delay for other traffic by 3.8 seconds/vehicle/intersection.(1999)

There were 32 accidents along a transitway at the University of Minnesota before transit priority lights were installed, while no accidents were reported after installation of the lights.(2 February 1998)

Transit priority systems in England and France have reduced transit vehicle travel times by 6 to 42 percent, while increasing passenger vehicle travel times by 0.3 to 2.5 percent. (December 1995)

A bus priority system on a major arterial in Portland, Oregon reduced bus travel times by five to eight percent. (July 1994)

Evaluations of the QUARTET PLUS and TABASCO Projects in Europe found that transit signal priority reduced travel time for transit vehicles by 5 to 15 percent.(1994-1998)

Future ICM systems will require new technical skill sets. Involve management across multiple levels to help agencies understand each other’s needs, capabilities, and priorities.(06/30/2015)

Placing detectors and deploying transit signal priority should be done to maximize benefits for transit vehicles while minimizing delay for other vehicles.(2013)

Conduct bench testing prior to field installation of transit signal priority (TSP) equipment to verify functionality between detectors, signal controllers, phase selectors, and cabinet design.(09/08/2010)

When developing transit signal priority (TSP) systems, consider using traffic simulation models as a cost-effective means of comparing the impacts of different TSP strategies on transit and non-transit vehicle travel time.(July 2010)

Identify functional boundaries and needs for cross jurisdictional control required to implement adaptive signal control and transit signal priority systems.(30 June 2010)

Anticipate and address challenges to consistently operating a transit signal priority (TSP) system.(4/14/2006)