Sandy Springs adopts transit signal priority plan

Sandy Springs is adopting the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody Transit Signal Priority Implementation Plan. (Courtesy City of Sandy Springs)
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Sandy Springs is adopting the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody Transit Signal Priority Implementation Plan. (Courtesy City of Sandy Springs)

Sandy Springs is adopting the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody Transit Signal Priority Implementation Plan.

The plan is part of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, a competitive one-year program providing grant funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers to explore, study, and plan for the use, deployment, and/or integration of smart community technologies.

“Reliable, on-time public transportation is a critical component of the city’s infrastructure,” said Mayor Rusty Paul. “Moving forward with this transit signal priority plan keeps the city on the cutting-edge using technology to improve its functions and citizen services.”

Sandy Springs was selected by Georgia Tech to participate in the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge Class of 2020-2021 in September 2020 for a Streamlining Suburban Transit pilot test of transit signal priority (TSP) technology.

Based on those findings, national and regional best practices, and community input, the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody Transit Signal Priority Implementation Plan will develop next steps to move forward with transit improvements in the cities.

The project allowed Sandy Springs to use existing infrastructure to test a new method of transit signal priority to improve transit reliability and reduce travel trip times. According to Sandy Springs, “TSP typically extends a green signal for approaching buses that are running behind schedule or will shorten the amount of time the bus will have to wait at a red signal.” It does not override the system like it would for an emergency vehicle.

TSP has been used in the Atlanta Metro area, but only using infrastructure on transit vehicles communicating with the traffic signal system.

The city notes, “this pilot project was innovative in that it did not require on-board units for communication; rather the signal system was able to access the bus information it needed from an application programming interface (API).” Transit agencies, like MARTA, were particularly interested in this project because maintenance and operational challenges often come with having the equipment on the bus. The API technology solves some of these issues.

More on Georgia Smart Communities: www.smartcities.gatech.edu/georgia-smart.