Public transport priority traffic management strategy
The measure deals with the implementation of an innovative traffic management strategy that aims to limit the adverse effects of transportation by elevating the level of service of public transport while at the same time achieving a better balance between public transport vehicles and pedestrians.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Efficient implementation of traffic management strategies prioritising public transport is essential for maximising the benefits of dedicated bus lanes. The priority given to public transport vehicles is subject to an appropriate level of service being provided for pedestrians while taking the necessary steps to avoid spillbacks of private vehicles. The strategy enables authorities not only to address various situations, but also to constantly improve and enrich the signal program library in order to ensure its compatibility with evolving traffic situations.
The main objective of this measure is to increase the use of sustainable modes of transport by encouraging the use of public transport while maintaining a good level of service to other road users. The specific measure level objective was to improve reliability of public transport by reducing the variance of public transport travel times through innovative use of the signal programs by at least 5%.
From December 2012 to October 2014 the priority regime for the various road users for each junction along the arterial road was determined and loop detectors were installed along the route. The public transport travel time calculation module was developed. The travel time calculations are based on the Israel MoT SIRI Stop Monitoring (SM) web service.
The new traffic management strategy was implemented and put into operation from November 2014 during the hours in which the dedicated bus lanes are in operation in the Ibn Gvirol arterial: 1.5 hours in the morning and 5 hours in the afternoon. The key performance indicators (KPIs) were calculated and analysed based on a comparison of the ‘Before’ period and the ‘After’ period. The ‘Before’ period consisted of 36 days between August and October 2014, and the ‘After’ period consisted of 62 days between May and July 2015.
The KPI for evaluating the success of the strategy implemented was designed to reflect the two most important road users, i.e. public transport and pedestrians. Private vehicle performance was defined as a constraint, namely avoidance of spillbacks at the minor approaches to the intersections.
In addition, two surveys were carried out to assess the impact of the public transport priority regime: the first one targeted the bus drivers of the lines affected, and the second, targeted public transport users and pedestrians along the demo artery.
Implementation of the public transport priority regime led, with the exception of southbound morning, to the desired decrease in the variance. In the afternoon the decrease in the variance was significant: -15% southbound and -47% northbound. Moreover, while a decrease in travel times was not specified as an objective, a significant decrease in average travel times in the afternoon was also achieved – northbound average travel time was reduced by 7%.
Even though the public transport priority regime selected to be implemented was not aggressive, both surveys showed that all the user groups – bus drivers, bus users, and pedestrians – felt that the regime had an impact.
The findings were: 44% of the bus drivers surveyed felt there were fewer stops at junctions and 48% of the bus drivers felt that travel times had shortened. Of the public transport users, 40% made more bus trips than prior to the implementation of the regime. Moreover, 65% stated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the public transport service, and 45% reported that the bus trip along the Ibn Gvirol arterial road was greatly or moderately improved.