Collecting Data on High Volume Bike and Pedestrian Routes

Data Collection Projects

The City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota recently hired Traffic Data Inc. to conduct some rather unique pedestrian and bicycle counts.  Among the list of counts they requested were a couple of standard 24-hour intersection turning movement counts which included bicycle and pedestrian counts, but also three 24-hour bicycle and/or pedestrian focused counts.

The three 24-hour non-vehicle counts were as follows:

+ A bicycle and pedestrian count on a heavily used trail as they crossed a city street.  For this count it was found that there were nearly 300 pedestrians and over 1,100 bicycles over the course of the day crossing the street at this location. This is equivalent to approximately 1/3 of the daily vehicle traffic on that road.  This data could be used to help determine if a change to the crossing is needed, potentially including a control change on the road.

+ A count of bicycles in the road near an access to a heavily used trail.  This count showed that bicycles accounted for approximately three percent of the daily volumes on that road.  This data could be used to help determine if bicycle facilities are needed on the road at this location.

+ A count of pedestrians crossing the road near a school. For this count, the school is on the north side of a road and there is a parking lot on the south side of the road. There is one marked crosswalk along the road and the City of St. Louis Park wanted to know how many pedestrians use the crosswalk on this section of road.  The section of road between the parking lot and school is approximately 650 feet.

Traffic Data Inc. set up on each end of this section of road facing the middle.  Using the videos from those two cameras, six crossing zones were identified and pedestrians were counted as they crossed the road and were placed into one of the six zones.  One of these zones was the crosswalk, and it was found that over the course of the day only about 11 percent of the approximately 150 pedestrians crossing the road used the crosswalk.  This is likely because the location of the crosswalk is not within the shortest path for many people traveling to and from the front door of the school from their parking spot.

This data could be used to help determine if a new location for the crosswalk would be better than the current location or if measures need to be taken to encourage more pedestrians to use the crosswalk.

All of these counts were done using video, and the video files were supplied to the City of St. Louis Park along with the count data.  As non-vehicular modes of transportation become increasingly prevalent, these types of data collection efforts may become more common.  With the use of video technology, Traffic Data Inc. is well suited to easily collect this and many other unique types of data collection.