A Bus Signal Priority System Using Automatic Vehicle Location / Global Position Systems and Wireless Communication Systems


Chen-Fu Liao, Gary Davis

December 2008

Report no. CTS 08-18

Current signal priority strategies implemented in various US cities mostly utilize sensors to detect buses at a fixed or preset distance away from an intersection. Traditional presence detection systems, ideally designed for emergency vehicles, usually send signal priority request after a preprogrammed time offset as soon as transit vehicles were detected without the consideration of bus readiness. The objective of this study is to integrate the already equipped Global Positioning System/Automated Vehicle Location (GPS/AVL) system on the buses in Minneapolis and develop an adaptive signal priority system that could consider the bus schedule adherence, its number of passengers, location and speed. Buses can communicate with intersection signal controllers using wireless technology to request for signal priority. Similar setup can also be utilized for other transit-related Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications. The City of Minneapolis recently deployed wireless technology to provide residents, businesses and visitors with wireless broadband access anywhere in the city. Communication with the roadside unit (e.g., traffic controller) for signal priority may be established using the readily available 802.11x WLAN or the Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) 802.11p protocol currently under development for wireless access in vehicular environment. This report documents the development, verification and validation of the embedded signal priority prototype systems, field testing results and limitations of using the City of Minneapolis Wi-Fi network for Transit Signal Priority (TSP).

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ITS Institute (RITA)