Press Releases

Press Release #17-055

Contact: Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (DOT), 212-839-4850

DOT Releases Status Report on “Transit Signal Priority” Technology Used To Speed MTA Buses

Innovation that holds green lights for buses and more quickly turns red lights green is in growing use; along five routes with Transit Signal Priority, or TSP, bus travel times have been reduced by 18 percent

Commissioner Polly Trottenberg of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today released a status report on Transit Signal Priority (TSP), a technological innovation that allows traffic signals to change in response to bus movement. The report concludes that after the change to TSP, bus travel times on those routes improved by a daily average of 18 percent, with individual routes improving by between 5 and 30 percent.

The Transit-Signal Priority report, Green Means Go, can be viewed here.

“Transit Signal Priority gives a Green Light to New York City bus riders,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We have seen travel time savings of 5-30 percent on the SBS routes where we installed this technology and 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.” 

Starting in 2006, DOT, in coordination with Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit, began using TSP along Victory Boulevard on Staten Island. After developing a more robust centralized TSP system, citywide expansion began in 2012, and TSP has since grown to 260 intersections along five different Select Bus Service routes. Implementing TSP both requires buses to have appropriate hardware and software, and for DOT to conduct thorough traffic analysis along each route to ensure optimal traffic flow and safety.

Currently, TSP is active on 5 bus routes:

    • S79 SBS, Hylan Blvd (Staten Island)
    • M15 SBS, First/Second Avenue (Manhattan)
    • B44 SBS, Nostrand Avenue (Brooklyn)
    • B46 SBS, Utica Avenue (Brooklyn)
    • Bx41 SBS, Webster Avenue (Bronx)

Among the highlights of the report:

  • TSP has reduced bus travel times about 18 percent when averaging results among all five corridors throughout the day. Results vary by corridor, direction and time of day with some corridors seeing travel times reduced by 5 percent and others up to 30 percent.
  • Travel times for buses have improved while other vehicles traveling along the same bus routes have also seen travel times stay constant or even improve.
  • By the end of 2017, TSP will be implemented at nearly 500 intersections (about 3 percent of all signalized intersections) along 10 different bus routes. 
  • Later this year, the M60 SBS (Manhattan to La Guardia Airport) and the Q44 SBS (Flushing to Jamaica) routes will be added.
  • Several additional bus routes are in development for TSP, including major routes in Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx, and Staten Island: Q25 on Kissena Boulevard; Q43 on Hillside Avenue; Q5 on Merrick Boulevard; Q52/Q53 SBS on Woodhaven Boulevard; B82 in Southern Brooklyn; BX12 SBS on Fordham Road; Bx6 in the South Bronx; and the S62 and S92 along Victory Boulevard in Staten Island.
  • NYC DOT will accelerate its implementation of TSP, expanding the network by an additional 550 intersections (about 10 routes) by end of 2020, in concert with MTA’s new bus technology.
  • TSP is most beneficial on two-way streets outside Manhattan, and when a full substantive traffic analysis underlies the work to maximize safety and transportation benefits.
  • TSP is also one tool that works well with other measures to improve bus speeds, such as all-door boarding, and dedicated bus lanes.

“As a city, we should follow the data, and the data on Transit Signal Priority is clearly telling us that this innovation is making a positive impact on improving Select Bus Service travel times without compromising safety or traffic flow,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Brooklyn's bus riders have waited a long time for improvements to substandard service, and it's incumbent on government to take action on solutions that work. With TSP already working along the transit corridors of Nostrand and Utica avenues, I look forward to DOT and MTA's coordination that will expand its implementation to additional SBS routes in our borough, such as the B82.”

“Transit signal priority is a crucial part of improving bus service across the city,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “With buses shedding riders over the past few years, improvements like this are how we will regain their trust that buses are a fast and efficient option. While this is just one step in the larger effort to radically improve bus service, I am pleased to see DOT doing its part and it's great news.”

“The expansion of TSP is a key improvement MTA and NYCDOT are finally advancing to take minutes off lengthy bus commutes. TSP, coupled with other operational and physical improvements, will transform the commutes of over 2 million daily bus riders and make bus service a more attractive transit option to get around New York City,” said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and member of the MTA board.

“This analysis is powerful proof that we can make bus riders' commutes faster and more reliable by using tried-and-tested technologies like signal priority,” said Nick Sifuentes, Deputy Director of the Riders Alliance. “It's time to put signal priority on as many bus routes as possible. We're glad to see the DOT implementing it on routes throughout the city--and we know riders will be too.”

“DOT's analysis illustrates how powerful a tool signal priority is for making bus trips faster and more reliable. We look forward to working with DOT and NYC Transit to ensure many more bus riders across New York benefit from transit signal priority in the near future,” said Tabitha Decker, NYC program director for TransitCenter.