System that can change traffic light timings in favour of public buses to be tested

During the trial period, select bus services will be fitted with Global Positioning System trackers which transmit the buses' real-time locations to a back-end assessment system.
During the trial period, select bus services will be fitted with Global Positioning System trackers which transmit the buses' real-time locations to a back-end assessment system.PHOTO: SCREEBGRAB FROM FACEBOOK/LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY-WE KEEP YOUR WORLD MOVING

SINGAPORE - In the future, public buses stuck in traffic jams could get unstuck sooner with a new system that is being tested that can adjust traffic light timings in the buses' favour.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Wednesday (Oct 31) that it will trial a Smart Bus Priority System, which begins on Nov 1.

During the trial period, which is due to conclude in April 2019, services 98 and 99 will be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers which transmit the buses' real-time locations to a back-end assessment system.

As a bus with the GPS approaches a traffic junction, the system will communicate with the traffic lights and prioritise movement of the bus, if required, by either extending the green light duration or shortening the red light duration in favour of the bus.

For instance, if a bus has been delayed by a traffic jam and approaches a green light that is about to turn red, the duration of the green light will be extended to allow the bus to pass through without stopping.

This will also benefit other vehicles travelling alongside the bus.

After the bus passes the junction, the timing of the traffic light will revert to normal.

The LTA said that the system, which has a similar concept to one already in place in Australia, is aimed at providing faster and more reliable bus journeys for commuters.

It added that a total of 56 buses currently travel the routes of services 98 and 99, and all of them will be fitted with the GPS trackers.

Services 98 and 99 ply Jurong East Avenue 1 and Jurong West Avenue 1 between Jurong Town Hall Road and Jurong West Street 42/52. They were chosen for the trial because both routes have multiple traffic light junctions, which will enable the LTA to better evaluate the effectiveness of the system.

At the end of the trial period, data collected will be analysed to determine whether the system can effectively complement existing bus priority measures - such as bus lanes, B-signals for buses at junctions and bus priority boxes - to improve bus journey times and reliability.