MTA Bus Technology Shortens Travel Time But Frazzles Other Drivers

New York, N.Y. – The city’s Transit Signal Priority technology (TSP) synchronizes MTA buses with select traffic lights, turning signals green faster as buses approach. While it allows buses to pass through intersections quicker either by holding green lights longer or shortening red lights, the technology is worrisome to taxi and passenger cars who are often left waiting at red lights.

TSP has been in operation on 5 bus routes at 260 intersections since 2006 and bus travel time on these routes has been cut by 18 percent. MTA and city Department of Transportation announced on Monday they plan to install the technology at 550 additional intersections and on 10 more bus routes citywide by 2020.

“We know mass transit in this city is a disaster and something needs to be done, but if you do it at the expense of other vehicles, you’re serving nobody,” said New York Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai.

The lights timed to buses are located along Hyland Boulevard in Staten Island, First and Second Avenues in Manhattan, Nostrand and Utica Avenues in Brooklyn and Webster Avenue in The Bronx.

“We’re pledging to quadruple the rate at which we are doing our piece, at the various intersections,” said city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, an MTA board member.

The MTA set in place a $9.9 million contract to put TSP technology on computers inside buses to sync along with the additionally selected traffic signals.

The question remains as to whether these additions will negatively affect the flow of vehicle traffic.

By Patti Neda

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