Transit Signal Priority

Transit Signal Priority (TSP) utilizes existing vehicle location and wireless communication technologies to advance or extend the green light of a traffic signal to allow a CTA or Pace bus to continue through an intersection when the bus is running behind schedule—helping to reduce travel times and ensure on-time arrivals.

TSP is being deployed along 13 priority corridors to help CTA and Pace buses travel along 100 miles of roadway and through about 500 intersections operated by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), and other local departments of transportation throughout the region.

The RTA is leading this regional coordination effort, known as the Regional Transit Signal Priority Implementation Program (RTSPIP), in collaboration with the transit and highway agencies listed above.

Transit Signal Priority (TSP) utilizes existing vehicle location and wireless communication technologies to advance or extend green times at signalized intersections. When a TSP-equipped bus is late, it automatically requests extra green time so it can proceed through the intersection. The result: reduced delays at traffic signals, and increased service reliability and travel speeds for bus riders.

CTA and Pace bus service is getting more reliable! Using proven technology, Chicagoland transit agencies are deploying a fully integrated Transit Signal Priority (TSP) system for bus routes on strategic corridors.

With about 300 million bus trips made each year by transit riders across the Chicago region, integration of TSP technology on CTA and Pace buses will provide riders with improved on-time dependability and reduced travel times.

 

Who will benefit?

Almost 50 percent of the region’s transit riders can benefit from faster, more dependable bus service. On TSP-equipped buses, riders will see fewer traffic signal delays, enabling them to reach their destinations on time—with minimal interruption to the flow of regular traffic. In fact, traffic signal synchronization will be improved along these corridors as part of the TSP program. As bus service improves, ridership numbers are expected to grow as people see bus transit as a more attractive travel option, thus helping to reduce the region’s gridlock and improving air quality.

Where will it be?

TSP is an important component of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Arterial Rapid Transit (ART) systems being developed and deployed in the Chicago region.

Thirteen priority corridors have been selected based on several key factors including bus ridership, geographic location, and network connectivity.

CTA

  • Ashland Avenue
  • Western Avenue

PACE

  • 159th Street
  • 147th Street/Sibley Boulevard
  • 95th Street
  • Cermak Road
  • Cicero Avenue
  • Dempster Street
  • Grand Avenue (in Lake County)
  • Milwaukee Avenue
  • Roosevelt Road
  • Halsted Street/Harvey
  • I-90 Transit Corridor Access
 
 

When Did It Start?

Starting in 2016, a regional TSP system is being deployed in northeastern Illinois that works for both Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Pace buses traveling on roadways maintained by Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), or other local departments of transportation.

Who is leading this effort?

The Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois (RTA) is leading the comprehensive planning and coordination of this regional program. Leading implementation and construction are the CTA, Pace, IDOT, CDOT and other local and county transportation agencies. Working with the Federal Transit Administration and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the RTA is ensuring that a seamless and integrated TSP system is implemented across the different transit and highway jurisdictions.

What is it going to cost?

The RTA’s $40 million program for TSP deployment includes approximately $36 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funds and $4 million in RTA funding. These funds are being combined with other federal grants to the CTA and Pace for specific corridors.

What is happening now?

In 2016, CTA and CDOT installed TSP on South Ashland Avenue between Cermak Road and 95th Street. They are installing TSP equipment on Western Avenue in 2018.

In 2018, Pace will implement TSP on Milwaukee Avenue as part of the Pulse Milwaukee Line project. Pace has already implemented optimized signal timing in the following corridors:

  • 147th Street/Sibley Boulevard
  • 159th Street
  • 95th Street
  • Cicero Avenue
  • Grand Avenue (in Lake County)
  • Roosevelt Road
 

Signal optimization is the first phase of TSP installation and allows buses to travel faster.

Learn more about TSP deployment and the Green & Go program