Transit Delay Hot Spots Program

Project Introduction

Bus driving through intersection.

^ 44 O’Shaughnessy driving through the hot spot intersection near Woodside Avenue/Portola Drive to O’Shaughnessy Boulevard/Portola Drive.

The SFMTA is taking an exciting new approach to reducing delay for Muni customers: We are improving the slowest spots in the Muni system, whether they are on our highest ridership routes or on less-ridden but essential connector routes. The Transit Delay Hot Spots program targets simple improvements where they can have the greatest impact, using data to identify hot spots where Muni encounters the greatest delays. Typically, the Muni Forward program focuses on longer corridor improvements that benefit our most heavily used Muni routes, such as the 5 Fulton, 14 Mission and 38 Geary. Now, in addition to improving service reliability on our highest-ridership routes, we are also targeting solutions for hot spots where customers experience the greatest delays, regardless of how many people ride the line.

Each annual round of hot spots identifies the ten slowest segments in the Muni system, looking at travel time between adjacent stops in the peak hours. On these ten segments, Muni buses slow to less than four miles per hour during the busiest times of day. By making quick and relatively minor adjustments to these short segments, we can help buses move more quickly, improving travel time and reliability on an entire route. Following implementation, the SFMTA will monitor travel times and community feedback and may modify the changes if needed. While the hot spot improvements are targeted, the transit time improvements will benefit customers on the entire route by improving reliability.

It's all part of the Transit Priority Quick-Build Program, which launched in February 2020 to bring more improvements faster to the Muni network.

Annual Timeline

  • Months 1-3: Analyze travel times to identify next round of hot spots
  • Months 4-9: Community outreach and implementation of hot spot improvements
  • Months 10-12: Evaluate implemented hot spots and share results

Current Hot Spots

The first round of Transit Delay Hot Spots were adopted by the SFMTA Board in February 2020, based on travel time data from 2019. After COVID-related delays in 2020, the program has resumed, and more improvements are on the way to the first round of hot spots, as described below.

Map of 2020 Transit Delay Hot Spot locations

Collection of small maps with locations for each of the hot spots.

Planned improvements proposed for late 2022:

  • 44 O’Shaughnessy: Woodside Avenue/Portola Drive to O'Shaughnessy Boulevard/Portola Drive
    • On this segment, the 44 O’Shaughnessy has stops on both the near side and far side of the same intersection. Removing the near side stop will reduce the amount of signal delay for buses crossing Portola Drive onto O’Shaughnessy Boulevard. This will also allow for the bus to have a longer green light by installing Transit Signal Priority.
  • 44 O’Shaughnessy: Silver Avenue/San Bruno Avenue to Silver Avenue/Bayshore Boulevard
    • The 44 O’Shaughnessy moves slowly on Silver Avenue between San Bruno Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard due to traffic congestion, double parking and limited curb space. The planned improvements include a bus zone extension, additional commercial loading zones, and a relocated short term parking zone to allow for the bus to more easily serve riders and move through the intersection.
  • 19 Polk: Larkin Street/O'Farrell Street to Geary Street/Larkin Street
    • On this segment, the 19 Polk must cross multiple lanes of traffic to merge and turn left at Geary Boulevard. The proposed improvement would convert the right lane into right turn only (except Muni) between Ellis and O’Farrell Streets, serving as a short transit lane or “queue jump” to help the 19 Polk get ahead of other vehicles to merge over to the left at O’Farrell Street.

Completed improvements:

  • 37 Corbett: Church Street/Market Street to 14th Street/Church Street (implemented 2022)
    • The 37 Corbett serves stops on both the near side and far side of the intersection at Church and Market Streets. By no longer serving the near side stop at Church/Market Street, the 37 Corbett is now able to reduce the amount of signal delay it encounters when crossing Market Street onto 14th Street. This segment is still being evaluated for travel time savings.  
  • 54 Felton: 3rd Street/Van Dyke Avenue/Lane Street to Williams Avenue/3rd Street (implemented 2022)
    • On this segment, the 54 Felton stopped on both sides of the same intersection. By removing the stop at 3rd/Van Dyke/Lane Street, the 54 Felton is now able to reduce the amount of signal delay it encounters when crossing 3rd Street. This reduced travel time for 54 Felton customers by about 1 minute, or 50% in this segment.
  • 27 Bryant: Cyril Magnin Street/5th Street/Market to 5th/Mission Street (implemented 2021)
    • The 27 Bryant faced heavy traffic congestion on 5th Street. The 27 Bryant was rerouted to take advantage of new transit lanes on 7th and 8th streets.
  • 8AX and 8BX Bayshore “A”/“B” Expresses: Kearny Street/Sutter Street to Kearny Street/Bush Street (implemented 2020)
    • The 8 and 8AX/8BX encountered signal delay through this segment. In January 2020, signal retiming on Kearny Street eased delay on this segment. In the future, stop realignments are proposed along Kearny Street to further improve travel times on the 8 Bayshore and 8AX/8BX Bayshore Expresses.

On hold:

  • 30X Marina Express: Pine Street/Front Street to Pine Street/Battery Street
    • On hold while 30X Marina Express service is suspended
  • 1BX, 31AX/BX, 38AX/BX express lines: Bush Street/Sansome Street to Sansome Street/Pine Street
    • On hold while Richmond express lines are suspended
  • 24 Divisadero: Cortland Avenue and 30th Street/Mission Street
    • No changes are currently planned due to the complexity of this area, which also serves several other Muni lines (14 Mission, 14R Mission Rapid and 49 Van Ness-Mission) that could be negatively impacted by any adjustments to the 24 Divisadero here.
Contact Information
Anna Harkman, Program Manager
Erin McMillan, Public Information Officer