As New Yorkers face uncertain peril just about every time they board a subway these days, there’s good news for those who ride certain routes of the city’s Select Bus Service. Five of those bus routes have seen an 18 percent reduction in travel time, the New York City Department of Transportation announced Monday.
The decrease is due to technology called Transit Signal Priority (TSP), which allows SBS buses to coordinate with and adjust traffic signals to reduce the amount of time they stop at lights, according to the DOT’s “Green Means Go: Transit Signal Priority in NYC” report.
A bus spends about 21 percent of its time at traffic lights, the report said.
The MTA and DOT launched TSP in Staten Island in 2006 and has expanded it to now include 260 intersections on five different SBS routes: S79 on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island, M15 on First and Second avenues in Manhattan, B44 on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, B46 on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, and Bx41 on Webster Avenue in the Bronx.
“We have seen travel time savings of 5 to 30 percent on the SBS routes where we installed this technology,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement Monday. “Now that the MTA is moving forward with its TSP procurement, we are pleased to announce that DOT will quadruple our installation rate, covering over 1,000 intersections total and 15 additional routes by 2020.”
The M60 from Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport and Q44 from Flushing to Jamaica in Queens will be added to the fold later this year, adding 236 more intersections.
Where is TSP most beneficial?
While every route is different, the NYC DOT report said that TSP is most effective:
• on two-way streets that do not have “green wave” signals, in which three or more traffic lights are synchronized for a continual flow of traffic.
• at intersections that do not have much cross traffic or many turn signals.
• on streets with predictable bus travel times, such as ones with dedicated bus lanes.