Better Bike Counts

SDOT now has a better system of counting bike trips that provides a more accurate picture of bicycle travel in Seattle.  The new program, started last year, is part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. The program conducts almost 10 times as many counts per year as were conducted previously.  The increased number of counts includes collecting data in all seasons and at various times of day, including counts on the weekend. A total of 600 individual counts were conducted in 2011,  identifying 30,771 bike trips. Now, with a full year of data for 2011, we have baseline information for 50 locations city-wide.  

Under the new program, a consultant working for SDOT counts bicycle trips four times a year using video technology and then compiles the information. The data is displayed on graphs and maps for a more visual interpretation. For example, the graph shown below (find link to a larger version) compares 2011 citywide totals by location for the afternoon peak traffic period, off-peak period and Saturdays. 

We will soon have data compiled for the first quarter of 2012. As we compile data collected during the three remaining counts this year, it will be interesting to see how ridership may have varied from last year. The bicycle count data will be used for trend analysis, to help make decisions regarding street design and operation, and as a benchmark for the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan.

You can read more about the bicycle count program on SDOT’s Web site.