First Advisor

Miguel Figliozzi

Date of Publication

Spring 6-2-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, Traffic signs and signals -- Oregon -- Portland -- Control systems -- Case studies, Traffic signal preemption -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Travel time (Traffic engineering) -- Oregon -- Portland -- Reliability -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 135 pages)


Transit travel time is affected by many factors including traffic signals and traffic condition. Transit agencies have implemented strategies such as transit signal priority (TSP) to reduce transit travel time and improve service reliability. However, due to the lack of empirical data, the joint impact of these factors and improvement strategies on bus travel time has not been studied at the stop-to-stop segment level.

This study utilizes and integrates three databases available along an urban arterial corridor in Portland, Oregon. Data sources include stop-level bus automatic vehicle location (AVL) and automatic passenger count (APC) data provided by the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet), the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) signal phase log data, and intersection vehicle count data provided by the City of Portland. Based on the unique collection and integration of these fine granularity empirical data, this research utilizes multiple linear regression models to understand and quantify the joint impact of intersection signal delay, traffic conditions and bus stop location on bus travel time and its variability at stop-to-stop segments. Results indicate that intersection signal delay is the key factor that affects bus travel time variability. The amount of signal delay is nearly linearly associated with intersection red phase duration. Results show that the effect of traffic conditions (volumes) on bus travel time varies significantly by intersection and time of day.

This study also proposed new and useful performance measures for evaluating the effectiveness of TSP systems. Relationships between TSP requests (when buses are late) and TSP phases were studied by comparing TSP phase start and end times with bus arrival times at intersections. Results show that green extension phases were rarely used by buses that requested TSP and that most green extension phases were granted too late. Early green effectiveness (percent of effective early green phases) is much higher than green extension effectiveness. The estimated average bus and passenger time savings from an early green phase are also greater compared to the average time savings from a green extension phase. On average, the estimated delay for vehicles on the side street due to a TSP phase is less than the time saved for buses and automobiles on the major street.

Results from this study can be used to inform cities and transit agencies on how to improve transit operations. Developing appropriate strategies, such as adjusting bus stop consolidation near intersections and optimizing bus operating schedules according to intersection signal timing characteristics, can further reduce bus travel time delay and improve TSP effectiveness.


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