Evaluating the Impacts of Transit Signal Priority Strategies on Traffic Flow Characteristics:Case Study along U.S.1, Fairfax County, Virginia
Deshpande, Vinit Vinod
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Transportation engineers and planners worldwide are faced with the challenge of improving transit services in urban areas using low cost means. Transit signal priority is considered to be an effective way to improve transit service reliability and efficiency. In light of the interest in testing and deploying transit signal priority on a major arterial in Northern Virginia, this research focuses on the impacts of transit signal priority in the U.S.1 corridor in Fairfax County in terms of benefits to transit and impacts on other traffic. Using a simulation tool, VISSIM, these impacts were assessed considering a ten second green extension priority strategy. The results of the simulation analysis indicated that the Fairfax Connector buses benefit from the green extension strategy with little to no impact on the other non-transit traffic. Overall, improvements of 3.61% were found for bus service reliability and 2.64% for bus efficiency, while negative impacts were found in the form of increases in queue lengths on side streets by a maximum value of approximately one vehicle. Because this research has provided a foundation for the evaluation of transit signal priority for VDOT and Fairfax County engineers and planners, future research can build upon this effort. Areas identified for future research include the provision of priority for the entire bus route; combination of emergency preemption and transit priority strategies; evaluation of other priority strategies using system- wide priority concepts; and the impacts of priority strategies in monetary terms.
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