An Evaluation of Transit signal Priority and SCOOT Adaptive Signal control

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Date
2001-05-14
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Cities worldwide are faced with the challenge of improving transit service in urban areas using lower cost means. Transit signal priority is considered to be one of the most effective ways to improve the service of transit vehicles. Transit signal priority has become a very popular topic in transportation in the past 20 to 30 years and it has been implemented in many places around the world. In this thesis, transit signal priority strategies are categorized and an extensive literature review on past research on transit signal priority is conducted. Then a case study on Columbia Pike in Arlington (including 21 signalized intersections) is conducted to assess the impacts of integrating transit signal priority and SCOOT adaptive signal control. At the end of this thesis, an isolated intersection is designed to analyze the sensitivity of major parameters on performance of the network and transit vehicles.

The results of this study indicate that the prioritized vehicles usually benefit from any priority scheme considered. During the peak period, the simulations clearly indicate that these benefits are typically obtained at the expense of the general traffic. While buses experience reductions in delay, stops, fuel consumption, and emissions, the opposite typically occurs for the general traffic. Furthermore, since usually there are significantly more cars than buses, the negative impacts experienced by the general traffic during this period outweigh in most cases the benefits to the transit vehicles, thus yielding overall negative impacts for the various priority schemes considered. For the off-peak period, there are no apparent negative impacts, as there is more spare capacity to accommodate approaching transit vehicles at signalized intersections without significantly disrupting traffic operations.

It is also shown in this study that it is generally difficult to improve the system-wide performance by using transit priority when the signal is already optimized according to generally accepted traffic flow criteria. In this study it is also observed that the system-wide performance decreases rapidly when transit dwell time gets longer.

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SCOOT, Transit Signal Priority, Integration model, intelligent transportation systems, Adaptive Signal Control
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