Apr 17, 2024 - News

Bus-only signal now on Hawthorne

A blue bus going though a red light because white light on a bus-only signal indicates it is safe.

A bus-only traffic signal, in the yellow casing with the vertical white bar, shows a TriMet bus driver that they have permission to go through a red light. Photo: TriMet

TriMet has added a bus-only signal to SE Hawthorne Boulevard and 11th Avenue in Portland to reduce ride times.

How it works: The bus-only signal is a special traffic light that lets a bus driver go through a red light.

  • The signal hangs a few feet to the right of a regular signal.
  • Instead of red, yellow and green lights, there is a horizontal bar, a triangle and a vertical bar, respectively, in white light.

The bus driver can run a regular red light when the vertical white light is showing to get ahead of other traffic.

  • The new bus-only signal is on the Hawthorne-Madison couplet outside Burgerville.

Catch up quick: Eleven bus-only signals already operate on the FX2 Portland to Gresham line where long, articulated buses make fewer stops.

  • FX2 also has transit signaling priority, where the bus' radio signal triggers a green light as it approaches a signal, saving six minutes on a full trip.
  • The Hawthorne-Madison couplet has four popular bus lines (6, 10, 14 and 70) and seven traffic signals that now also have transit signaling priority.

Yes but: The new system saves riders on Hawthorne about 30 seconds per trip.

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