Perimeter control as an alternative to dedicated bus lanes: A case study

Nicolas Chiabaut, Michael Küng, Monica Menendez, Ludovic Leclercq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dedicated bus lanes (DBLs) are a common traffic management strategy in cities as they improve the efficiency of the transit system by preventing buses from getting trapped in traffic jams. Nevertheless, DBLs also have certain disadvantages: they consume space, reduce available capacity for general traffic, and can thus lead to even more congested car traffic situations. It is appealing to find more efficient alternatives that maintain a sufficient network supply for general traffic while guaranteeing high commercial speeds for the bus system. This paper investigates whether perimeter control (gating) could be such an alternative to DBL strategies. This solution aims at controlling the traffic conditions of a given area by monitoring vehicle accumulations and adapting traffic signal parameters to reach the targeted conditions. If free-flow states can be maintained within the zone, then DBLs become superfluous. This hypothesis is examined through a simulation case study with an urban arterial acting as the targeted area. A dual-objective control approach was applied to allow for not only the vehicle accumulation inside the area but the queue lengths at its perimeter, thereby addressing one of the main issues associated with gating schemes. Due to the gating strategy, traffic performance in the arterial, measured through vehicle accumulation plus mean speed and density, improved significantly. Moreover, results showed that bus operations reach almost the same efficiency level when DBLs are replaced by perimeter control. Furthermore, the availability of an additional lane for general traffic in the control case significantly increased the arterial capacity for cars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-120
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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