Technical Liaison Committee
Transit Priority Measures Study
Chair: Simon Tam
The majority of transit service in urban areas is delivered on public roads where traffic signals and congestion can delay transit vehicles and reduce transit service reliability. Faster, more reliable and frequent service can be delivered by transit systems in grade-separated rights-of-way for transit vehicles. Such transit systems, however, can require significant capital investments. Transit priority measures, on the other hand, can cost relatively little and offer transit vehicles preferential treatment over other vehicles, minimizing the delay caused by congestion and traffic signals. Transit priority measures can be grouped in three general categories:
- Physical measures (e.g. minor changes in street and intersection geometry, sidewalk extensions, transit queue jumps, transit bypass lanes, shoulder bus lanes, reserved lanes, transit malls, exclusive transit centres, etc.)
- Traffic signal measures (e.g. traffic signal timing adjustments, actuated traffic signal priority, active transit signal priority)
- Legislative measures (e.g. on-street parking restrictions, pulling-away priority for buses entering the traffic street, transit exemptions for general traffic regulations, etc.)
Due to their potential to conserve capital and operating resources by improving surface route efficiency, transit priority measures have been given increased consideration in recent years. In current economic conditions and growing congestion in urban areas, transit priority measures are likely to play an increasingly important role not only in transit development and service delivery, but also in achieving the overall transportation goals. Effective transit priority measures provide long term benefits (e.g. modal shift, reduction of green house gasses emission, energy savings, etc.) and promote sustainability.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The objective of this project will be to review, identify and evaluate transit priority measures that can be used by municipal engineers and urban planners as effective, efficient, and viable options in urban transit and transportation planning. The work is expected to include, but not be limited to:
- Review of transit priority measures already implemented in Canadian municipalities (case studies) as well as review of innovative approaches used elsewhere. This task is to include:
- Literature review of transit priority practices in North American and elsewhere
- Review of associated policies, legislation and regulations
- Survey of proposed North American and international jurisdictions of interest (Note:the Project Steering Committee will verify the list of proposed cities to be surveyed)
- Development of framework for transit priority planning: identify the role that transit priority plays in transportation planning documents
- Development of framework for the implementation processes (i.e. functional study/design, procurement, constructions/installation, etc.)
- Creation of a list, summary and before-and-after review of applicable transit priority measures in Canada
- Development of a methodology for justification, selection and development of an appropriate transit priority measure(s) (e.g. evaluation framework, defining need, detailed planning, localized objectives, analytical tools, balancing competing demands between modes, setting performance targets etc.),
- Determination of requirements for transit priority measures implementation including:
- Operations and safety
- Signals and on-street hardware technology
- Monitoring/feedback for ongoing development
- Jurisdictional responsibilities and co-ordination
- Compliance and enforcement
- Development of a methodology for evaluation of a transit priority measure’s effectiveness (e.g. cost benefit analysis, or other intangible benefits, such as transit ridership growth, improved reliability, etc.),
- Development of a procedure for integration and coordination amongst key stakeholders for implementing transit priority measures.
It is envisioned that training material on the deliverables would also be provided as part of this project and, based on the training analysis, a number of issues, including, but not limited to the following, should be addressed:
- clear definition of the target audience and learning requirements including working examples to be used in order to illustrate the best practices’ principles, and
- recommended course topics and types of didactic materials and delivery mechanism.
Final deliverable will be a stand-alone national guide for the planning and implementation of transit priority measures in urban areas, including an executive summary. Note that supporting documentation, including the results of the research and practices review, should be provided as separate items. Another deliverable will be training materials for a training course on the recommended practices.
The project is at a 75% complete stage as of November 2011. A framework, as well as a methodology, is being developed to compare individual transit priority measure, TPM , and to select the most suitable option. TPM scenarios had been identified with charts, photos and description. Creating a methodology is a challenge given the diverse issues identified in the project survey.
The guidelines will be developed with a structure that allows a user to define the problem, follows a methodology and evaluates TPM to come up with acceptable solutions. The decision methodology is proposed in the following structure:
• External planning
• Identifying the needs
• Defining the problem, possibly by corridor, section or intersection
• Defining types of measures
• Assessment criteria/ internal planning
The final guidelines are expected to provide a range of measures with a methodology to evaluate alternatives and select the most suitable option. The decision methodology is being developed based on developed categories of TPM. TPM solutions had been identified for corridors, sections and intersections. The methodology process is being refined to define TPM types (regulatory, ITS and physical), to provide TPM solutions, and to identify the need on a high level. In the process to select TPM solutions, several assessment criteria, including operations, public acceptance, safety, organizational and financial, are suggested.