DC Buses Now Get Jump on Traffic at 6 Intersections in Northwest

Some Metrobus riders will now get a jump start on traffic during their commute thanks to newly installed “bus only” traffic signals.

The signals give buses an advanced green light ahead of other traffic at six intersections in Northwest D.C., WMATA announced in a news release Tuesday.

By allowing Metro buses to go first through intersections before the standard traffic signal turns greens, buses can jump ahead of other vehicles and improve service time, WMATA said.

The technology is known as "queue jump." After three seconds, a flashing triangle on the light shows the priority signal is about to end and is followed by a horizontal bar that buses no longer have priority and must obey normal traffic signals, according to the release.

The signal allows buses to pull away from the stop without relying on other drivers to yield.

The six locations where the new signals are active are:

  • 16th Street and U Street NW - northbound
  • Georgia Avenue and Columbia Road NW - southbound
  • Georgia Avenue and Irving Street NW - southbound
  • Georgia Avenue & Piney Branch Road NW - southbound
  • New York Avenue, 11th Street and I Street NW - northbound 
  • 16th Street and Irving Street NW - eastbound

The intersections are located mostly in Columbia Heights and Petworth neighborhoods. Fifteen bus routes travel through the six intersections including: S1, S2, S4, S9, 70, 79, 64, G8, D32, H1, H2, H3, H4, H8, W47.

"This is a major step forward to provide faster, safer, and more reliable bus service for thousands of daily Metrobus riders," Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a statement. "I want to thank our partners at the District Department of Transportation for their support of the program, and we look forward to expanding this technology to other intersections in the future."

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