Public transport priority system
This measure aims to update the bus priority system in the city of Monza, which is strongly connected with the Urban Traffic Control (UTC) system.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Monza implemented a priority system for public transport buses in the 1990s. This system consisted of Infrared sensors installed at intersections which were able to communicate with approaching buses and extend green light time for the buses. The system was tested but did not become fully operational. There is still the need of a system to help public transport buses to increase the efficiency of their journey times. The experience gained so far shows that the priority system cannot be a stand-alone system, but must be strongly interconnected with the Urban Traffic Control System. A priority request when the private traffic is high could produce congestion instead of an advantage.
In the RTD stage, a study has been undertaken by Project Automation, in agreement with Comune di Monza and with Nord-Est Trasporti (NET) which is the owner of the Public Transport fleet, to propose a conceptual framework to manage Public Transport Priority at the relevant intersections. Results in summary consist of:
- a first “Decision Module (hereinafter called DM1)” which has the role to receive priority requests issued by buses approaching the intersections of the Corridor and to decide whether to consider them eligible to be served or not;
- a second “Decision Module (hereinafter called DM2)” which filters all the incoming priority requests for each intersection, deciding which of them (one or more, if compatible) will be served by the UTC system;
- an “Interface Module” which must translate the winning priority requests to specific commands that the UTC system can process and activate.
In the demonstration stage, four intersections of the CIVITAS Corridor for Public Transport have been equipped with the devices necessary for them to be put under the control of the UTC system. These devices allow application of the Priority Management scheme that emerges from the study carried out in the research stage, outlined above.
Evaluation activities have been aimed at measuring the results achieved, expressed through the following key results:
- The proposed approach has been successfully implemented; the results, in terms of impact evaluation, have not generated travel time reduction (0%). The main reason is the high level of congestion that is influencing a large part of the city of Monza the corridor belongs to; this is due to a significant reduction of the throughput of the western external ring since 2008 that will continue up to April 2013, when a new 2 km long urban tunnel will be completed. The expectation in April 2013 is that this measure will become fully effective and travel time reduction will be reached.
- As far as social indicators are concerned, the introduction of PT priority is not well known yet, probably due to the recent start-up and to their use only in some lines; it is anyway considered useful and impacting positively on pollution level, but for frequent users this is not enough to change their approach to public transport and use it more and more; probably, only an extended implementation and aware use of these innovations can really change users’ approach.
- In terms of process evaluation, some barriers have been encountered, asking more time than expected to design, implement and test the software suite made operational within Archimedes. Nevertheless, the software suite has been successfully completed and will be used after the expiration of Archimedes.