TRANSIT: Signal-priority technology accelerating bus travel in San Francisco

Average travel time has been reduced by five minutes after one month

April 29, 2014

San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) is piloting a new signal-priority technology that is helping reduce bus travel times along Mission Street. After a month of operation, average travel times on Mission Street lines are down by nearly five minutes.

Muni has installed the technology, which works like a GPS device, on three bus lines that cover the 63 Mission Street intersections in San Francisco proper. The device communicates with traffic signals as the bus approaches an intersection, keeping the light green or shortening the duration of a red light to keep buses moving through traffic. As a result, the average length of time it takes to travel the length of Mission Street one-way has fallen from 57 minutes to 52 minutes.

According to Muni, the system has also helped alleviate issues with gaps and backups in service.

To date, Muni has spent between $2 and $3 million on the Mission Street pilot program, and Muni is considering expanding the system across the rest of the city. A similar mechanism is already in place on Third Street.