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Effects of Transit Signal Priority on Traffic Safety: Interrupted Time Series Analysis of Portland, Oregon, Implementations

Abstract

Transit signal priority (TSP) has been implemented to transit systems in many cities of the United States. In evaluating TSP systems, more attention has been given to its operational effects than to its safety effects. Existing studies assessing safety effects of TSP reported mixed results, indicating that the safety effects of TSP vary in different contexts. In this study, TSP implementations in Portland, Oregon, were assessed using interrupted time series analysis (ITSA) on month-to-month changes in number of crashes from January 1995 to December 2010. Single-group and controlled ITSA were conducted for all crashes, property-damage-only crashes, fatal and injury crashes, pedestrian-involved crashes, and bike-involved crashes. Evaluation of the post-intervention period (2003 to 2010) showed a reduction in all crashes on street sections with TSP (-4.5 percent), comparing with the counterfactual estimations based on the control group data. The reduction in property-damage-only crashes (-10.0 percent) contributed the most to the overall reduction. Fatal and injury crashes leveled out after TSP implementation but did not change significantly comparing with the control group. Pedestrian and bike-involved crashes were found to increase in the post-intervention period with TSP, comparing with the control group. Potential reasons to these TSP effects on traffic safety were discussed.Comment: Published in Accident Analysis & Preventio

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