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TSP in the urban environment: challenges, challenges and challenges


Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is getting attention these days as jurisdictions try to make transit more attractive to commuters. However, when practitioners add TSP to urban streets, they are faced with many challenges not found in ideal, suburban conditions. TSP transfers seconds from other phases in the timing plan to the transit phase. But how do you do that in an urban environment where there are only two phases and no margin available? This is just one of many challenges. Urban TSP experiences are scarce, driving practitioners into uncharted territory. High pedestrian volumes, cyclists, pedestrian countdown timers, protected Walk phases and coordination, other projects interfering at street level, amongst others, are all part of the deal. More than once, practitioners have to think outside of the box to get results. In a plug and play world, one expects technology to be a facilitator. But in the specialized world of traffic signals, practitioners should never underestimate the integration time of various components, and expect issues with firmwares that don’t talk to each other, or suddenly become unstable when product B is connected to product A. At the inception of a TSP project, jurisdictions and transit authorities should first establish clear goals and limits, taking into account the limitations and constraints brought by each other’s operations, the urban environment and of course the available hardware. Once an operational protocol is set and agreed, the project team can then move forward and face the many challenges that pave the road to TSP.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Daniel Beaulieu