Bicycle and pedestrian counts are essential to understand the success of community’s efforts to increase walking and bicycling. They provide the resources to effectively evaluate changes in the overall crash rate as well as the number of crashes at specific locations. They also help gauge a community’s progress as compared to peer communities.
Since the 2000 US Census, bicycle and pedestrian commute data has been collected by the American Community Survey. Unfortunately, especially for small and mid-sized communities, the sample size is too small to give an accurate account of bicycle and pedestrian commutes – making actual counts even more important to those communities.
Bicycle and pedestrian counts should be conducted as part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project is a nationwide effort to provide a consistent model of data collection and ongoing data for use by planners, governments, and bicycle and pedestrian professionals.
Conduct a bicycle and pedestrian count in your community:
- Become involved in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. They provide information how and when to conduct a count.
- Identify approximately a dozen locations around town where pedestrian and bicycle counts will be taken.
- Conduct bicycle and pedestrian counts from the same location every year.
- Always conduct counts before a facility is improved to document changes that are the result of a facility being constructed.
The City should consider using automated counters in key locations around town. These can be temporary installations or permanent kiosks that give a constant feed of bicycle and pedestrian activity in a specific area.