Six-Month Test on Western Avenue Scheduled to Begin this Winter
The Chicago Transit Authority today announced plans to test a Transit Signal Prioritization system on two segments of Western Avenue. These test studies, conducted with the City of Chicago and funded by a grant from the RTA, are scheduled to begin this winter pending approval by the City Council.
The CTA will receive $652,000 from an RTA grant to conduct the studies. Initially, a total of 10 intersections along Western Avenue will be used to test the Transit Signal Prioritization (TSP) system. TSP equipment will be installed at five intersections between Armitage and Diversey and five intersections between 59th and 63rd Streets during the pilot program. Up to 30 buses operating on the #X49 Western Express route will be equipped with optical emitters to activate the TSP equipment installed at the intersections.
"The CTA is continually looking for innovative technologies that can enhance the service we provide our riders," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. "Traffic has a major impact on bus reliability so technologies that can help improve the speed and consistency of service promise to be very valuable tools."
The TSP system will extend a green traffic light or shorten a red traffic light when it senses a CTA bus approaching an intersection and conditions at the intersection meet a set of parameters (including safety and efficiency) programmed into the TSP equipment. During the test study, before and after conditions will be monitored at cross streets on Western Avenue and be analyzed for future projects at the CTA.
"The #X49 that operates on Western Avenue is one of the longest routes on CTA's system, providing an ideal location to test Transit Signal Prioritization," said CTA President Ron Huberman. "This study gives us the opportunity to increase the efficiency and reliability on a busy route while at the same time we can test-drive the use of Transit Signal Prioritization for our upcoming Bus Rapid Transit pilot."
The CTA has been working with Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communication to organize the studies and to choose the best equipment for the project. The same TSP technology is anticipated to be used to improve service as part of the Bus Rapid Transit Program, announced earlier this year by the CTA.
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