A transit signal priority system in Southampton, England reduced bus delay by 9.5 seconds/vehicle/intersection and increased delay for other traffic by 3.8 seconds/vehicle/intersection.


Summary Information

This project evaluated the impacts of a transit signal priority system in Southampton, England. In-pavement loop detectors were installed on five links approaching three SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimization Techniques) controlled junctions. When the magnetic inductance signature of a bus was detected, the loops triggered priority control software at the signal controller and granted the bus priority. A new green phase or green phase extension was granted depending on a pre-defined set of signal control parameters that gave buses a high level of priority over other traffic.

The following sections of roadway were equipped:
  • Old Northam Road approaching Six Dials.
  • New Road approaching Six Dials.
  • Commercial Road (westbound) approaching junction with Havelock Road.
  • West Park Road (eastbound) approaching junction with Havelock Road.
  • West End Road (westbound) slipway.

At each site, on-street surveyors were positioned at the bus detector and at the location of the traffic signal stop line to record the time at which buses passed by. Each link was surveyed for one week with and without the priority system in operation. Field data were collected during the AM peak (07:30-09:30), AM off-peak (10:00-1200), PM off-peak (13:30-15:30) and PM peak (16:00-18:00) periods for a total of 36 hours per week. Data were not collected during the Monday AM peak period and the Friday PM peak period since these peak periods were not typical of other weekdays.

Bus journey time data were used to evaluate system impacts on bus speeds, traffic delays, and system operations. Impacts on bus emission levels and fuel consumption were calculated using speed-related emissions factors derived from a national emissions database. Impacts on other traffic were assessed using general traffic data collected from loop detectors at each SCOOT intersection.


The relatively high priority given to buses improved bus performance and reduced bus delay by 9.5 seconds/vehicle/intersection, however, because such a high level of priority was granted, delays increased for other vehicles by 3.8 seconds/vehicle/intersection.

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Monitoring and evaluation of a public transport priority scheme in Southampton

Published By: Transport Research Laboratory

Prepared by the Southampton University and the University of Portsmouth Transport Research Laboratory for the Hampshire County Council

Source Date: 1999

Other Reference Number: Report No. TRL413


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Goal Areas


Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


bus priority, traffic signals, TSP

Benefit ID: 2007-00377