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Transit upgrades to improve bus ride experience

A federal grant worth $58.8 million dollars funded area transportation improvements such as these canopied bus stops that provide real time bus arrival information at the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — Riding a bus isn’t what it used to be like. Area transit upgrades, made possible through a federal grant, include bus stops with real time arrival information and faster trips through intersections where traffic signals give buses priority.

The $58.8 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery or TIGER grant was given to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Most of the funded projects are now done or nearing completion.

“One hundred ninety-five intersections are receiving transit signal priority,” said COG Consultant Michael Weinberger, senior transportation planner with Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning, Inc.

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Already in effect in northern Virginia, traffic signal priority as part of the Regional Priority Bus Network should be fully operational by the end of 2016. “They had to optimize the entire downtown network of signals. that was also funded by TIGER,” Weinberger said.

Bus stops upgraded in 186 locations region wide give real time bus arrival information displayed digitally or audibly at the touch of a button in both English and Spanish. The new bus stops also include bright lighting and aesthetically pleasing designs such as lofty arched canopies.

“Wait for the bus and know how many minutes until it’s coming; you have a clean, bright and safe environment; it changes the way you feel about your journey and about your experience using transit,” Weinberger said.

Find the latest on TIGER projects and how money was disbursed and spent here.

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