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TriMet Speeds Up Buses with Transit Signal Priority Technology

New system is expected to cut travel time by as much as 20% for some trips.


TriMet — which provides bus, light rail and commuter rail services for the Portland, Oregon, area — outfitted its new bus fleet with next-generation transit signal priority (TSP) technology, which transmits signals that either shorten red lights or lengthen green lights based on real-time bus data.


The technology is expected to reduce travel time for riders between Portland and the city of Gresham by as much as 20%. The project was spearheaded by A.J. O’Connor, director of intelligent transportation systems for TriMet. Other benefits of the new TSP system include:

  • More accurate, precise locations of vehicles and estimated times of arrival to intersections.
  • Increased accuracy of vehicle ETAs over time.
  • The ability to give buses priority. For example, if two buses are running on two crossing routes, and they arrive at the same time, the new system will allow business rules to grant priority to the bus that has more passengers, or to the bus that is running late.
  • All TSP data will be presented on a dashboard, accessible from anywhere by anyone with access rights.


  • Create a working group with traffic partners in your service area. Usually, this is the city, county and state departments of transportation, as well as the group(s) responsible for traffic signals.
  • Define a corridor or route that could benefit from TSP as a pilot.
  • Assess existing infrastructure: the state of traffic controllers, communication paths, etc.
  • Identify how much the cloud will need to be leveraged.