Followup: Stoplight problems traced to ‘transit signal priority’ equipment

(12/21/12 photo at 42nd/Alaska, by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
After those recent stoplight problems along the RapidRide route – 35th/Alaska, 35th/Avalon, 42nd/Alaska, California/Fauntleroy are the ones we’ve covered – SDOT has been investigating, and has concluded it is related to the “transit signal priority” programming along the way. When we inquired about the recurring problems last week, SDOT spokesperson Marybeth Turner said we could expect an update after the holidays – and this afternoon, here it is:

SDOT partnered with King County Metro on the planning, design and construction of transit-related improvements that would reduce delay and improve the speed and reliability of Rapid Ride buses. Both agencies did extensive testing of the programs that support Transit Signal Priority (TSP) prior to implementation. During this testing period none of the issues we are currently experiencing occurred.

Once implemented, however, we began to experience issues at several locations. We were able to trace the problems back to the TSP equipment, but have been unable to determine why the equipment is causing these random malfunctions.

We are working closely with the software manufacturer to uncover the cause. Their latest version of the software does appear to have resolved most of the issues. However, we will be conducting thorough tests through January to ensure these problems do not occur again. Assuming we are satisfied that the issues have been resolved, we hope to implement the new software in early February.

In the meantime, to prevent these issues from recurring, we have temporarily disconnected the linkage to Metro’s equipment.

7 Replies to "Followup: Stoplight problems traced to 'transit signal priority' equipment"

  • Jim January 4, 2013 (4:25 pm)


  • Here January 4, 2013 (6:15 pm)

    Exactly what I was thinking while reading this.

  • Come on January 4, 2013 (7:57 pm)

    Easy fix. Take out the bus lanes. Huge waste. Sat at the light for 5 cycles at 5pm and not one bus went by. Gotta love it. This idea is right up there with the variable speed limit signs on I-5

  • Not patient January 5, 2013 (9:32 am)

    Translation: they extensively tested the wrong things or the problems would’ve been found. Again, all the rapidride problems can be traced back to poor planning and incompetent staff.

  • Jason January 5, 2013 (11:26 am)

    Funny how the city will spend the money on the equipment for buses to be able to change the lights, but refused to spend the money for the same equipment for fire trucks/ambulances…

    Again, the city shows where its priorities are.

  • Alex January 5, 2013 (12:54 pm)

    Hey, transit may be worse than ever, but at least our buses are painted red now, right? And they have that catchy new name!

  • emcat8 January 5, 2013 (8:26 pm)

    I really hope they do work this out — one of the nights on the California/Fauntleroy malfunction was insanely dangerous, with pedestrians trying to cross, and people trying to treat it as a 10-way stop, but one of the lanes was stuck on green and people in that left turn lane flew through the intersection, not understanding that something was really wrong.

    And I saw the same thing happen at 35th/Fauntleroy, where there had actually been a crash because of this kind of situation. When you couple that with the fact that the cops don’t come to direct traffic or just leave, as I saw them do after the crash, you realize sooner or later someone’s going to get killed. I know that’ll get their attention, but really, does that have to happen for them to realize this isn’t just a small problem with software?

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