High quality data allow an agency to set performance measures, prioritize programs and infrastructure funds, manage transportation operations efficiently and effectively, and eventually evaluate the long-term trends of walking and bicycling. Count, or volume, data provide the foundation for measuring nonmotorized travel and monitoring trends of a facility or network. They put crash data in context to better understand the exposure to risk and can be used to help estimate social, economic, and health impacts of walking and biking. When used with geospatial data inventories of facilities, volume data can help explain where people are walking and bicycling.

Counts can be collected manually or through automated counters. Permanent automated counters are essential to understand changes over time. Short duration counts help inform spatial variations in walking and bicycling across a network. When used together, short duration and permanent continuous counts describe how travel varies over time and space throughout a network. The Federal Highway Administration's Traffic Monitoring Guide (TMG) includes a review of existing techniques and guidance for implementing traffic monitoring programs, including Chapter 4, that focuses on nonmotorized transportation monitoring using short duration and continuous count stations.

Resources

Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Programs: Summary of Practice and Key Resources provides a concise summary for implementing, expanding, or maintaining a count program.

Guidebook on Pedestrian and Bicycle Volume Data Collection (NCHRP Report 797) and associated update report (Methods and Technologies for Pedestrian and Bicycle Volume Data Collection: Phase 2) give a comprehensive introduction to nonmotorized counting.

Guide for Scalable Risk Assessment Methods for Pedestrians and Bicyclists provides a recent summary of methods for estimating bicycling and walking.

Bike-Ped PORTAL archives automated and manual nonmotorized counts from across the United States and allows others to upload, view, and download data.

Exploring Pedestrian Counting Procedures recommends strategies for accurate, timely and feasible measurement of pedestrian travel.

Coding Nonmotorized Station Location Information in the 2016 TMG Format offers detailed assistance and explanation for how jurisdictions can get count data to conform with the TMG format.

National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project was the first standardized protocol.

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Examples

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission offers a publicly available database to store, analyze, and share results from their permanent and short duration automated counters.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Technology Deployment Pilot Program showcases a research effort that identified organizational and technical capacity needs at MPOs and targeted resources and transfer lessons to increase the establishment and operations of counting programs.

Minnesota Pedestrian and Bicyclist Counting Program loans out portable counters for collecting local and regional data that is shared with the state, who also manages a set of continuous counters across the state.

North Carolina Nonmotorized Volume Data Program relies on partnerships between the state and local agencies to install continuous count equipment and uses a university to monitor, manage, and analyze the data.

Collecting Network-wide Bicycle and Pedestrian Data: A Guidebook for When and Where to Count provides specific guidance for communities interested in starting or improving a manual pedestrian and bicycle count program in Washington State and beyond.

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