Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts

Welcome to DVRPC's Travel Monitoring Page for counting Bicyclists and Pedestrians.

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News

  • May 2020 Trail Counts

    Regional Trail Use Continues to be Up From Last Year

    DVRPC's permanent trail count data from May 2020 shows yet another month of increased trail use in the region from 2019. DVRPC has monitored trail use during the pandemic, recently reporting on trail increases in both March and April of this year compared to last year. In fact, data shows it's been up since January 2020. The following graphic shows this uptick from 2019 to 2020 of bicycle and pedestrian trail use on four trails in the region: Chester Valley Trail, Delaware River Trail at Port Richmond, Schuylkill River Trail at Spring Mill and Wissahickon Trail.

    trail user counts May 2019 - May 2020

    In May, trail use was up slightly over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, despite this year's stormy Saturday. Combined data from the Schuylkill Banks, Chester Valley Trail, Washington Crossing, Port Richmond, and the Wissahickon counters show usage up during the three days by 9%. Sunday showed the biggest increase in use on the trails with usage up 52% from 2019.

    Memorial Day Weekend trail counts May 2020

    As we’ve previously reported, trail use on typically less used trails is realizing significant increases. Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend for example, the Delaware River trail at Port Richmond trail saw a 132% in use over the weekend. Washington Crossing saw a 9% increase over the three-day weekend with a 68% increase on Sunday alone.

    Explore DVRPC's Permanent Bicycle and Pedestrian Count web page for more count data!

  • April 2020 Trail Counts

    Regional Trail Use Continues to be Up From Last Year

    Spring 2020 trail use continues to be high. Last month, DVRPC shared the spike in trail use we saw in March using data from our permanent trail counters. April data looks the same: trail use continues to be higher on most trails compared to 2019 despite worse weather. April 2019 had roughly the same amount of rainy days (5 versus 4), but twice as many days over 60 degrees (26 versus 13). Each month had 8 weekend days, typically the highest use days.

    Despite last year's better weather, two of the region's traditionally more lightly trafficked trails, the D&L at Washington Crossing and the US 202 Parkway trail, saw large percentage increases (118% and 138% respectively). The Schuylkill Banks trail, the region's most heavily trafficked trail segment, actually saw an 18% drop in use. This drop could be due in part to the weather, but the continued high use of other trails suggests users may be seeking out more lightly trafficked trails in order to maintain physical distance.

    percent trail use increase april 2019 - april 2020

    A shift in the time of day cyclists are using our trails is also occurring. As more of our region's workforce works from home rather than commuting to their workplace, usage has shifted away from the double peak "rush hours" more typical on trails used for commuting to a single "recreational" peak in the afternoon. Wissahickon trail weekday bicycle data illustrates that the April 2019 bicycle "rush hour" peaks at the beginning and end of the workday shifted in April 2020 to a single, late afternoon peak profile, more typical of recreational users.

    Wissahickon trail weekday bicycle usage April 2020 Wissahickon trail weekday bicycle usage April 2019

    As we celebrate Bike Month this May, continue to stay safe. Follow national guidance on physical distancing such as wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance of at least 6' from others. Consider going on a ride in the morning instead of the afternoon, and go the extra mile by waiting to pass, signalling your approach, and maintaining a single file in some locations.
    Explore DVRPC's Permanent Bicycle and Pedestrian Count web page for more details!

  • March 2020 Trail Counts

    Read about March 2020 trail counts - 4/6/20

Why Do We Count?

DVRPC counts bicyclists and pedestrians because count data helps us understand and plan for the role bicyclists and pedestrians play in our transportation network. Similar to how planners use vehicular traffic counts to analyze roadway facilities, our bicycle and pedestrian counting program allows planners to measure existing levels of bicycling and walking, monitor travel trends, plan for new or improved facilities and measure outcomes of bicycle and pedestrian related projects. Our counting program consists of four types of counts: Project Counts, Cyclical Counts, Screenline Counts and Permanent Counts.

Type of Counts

  • Project Counts

    Project counts are bicycle and pedestrian counts that aim to tell planners, engineers and stakeholders how much bicycle and/or pedestrian activity exists in an area (intersection, corridor, etc.). If taken in the same location at different times, for instance, before or after a bike lane is striped, these counts can measure the effect on bicycling or walking.Typically DVRPC counts in locations where we, or our partners, are doing planning, engineering, or public engagement work along a corridor or site. Counts are typically conducted with pneumatic tubes or infrared devices for seven days to capture the variation across the week. For counts taken by video, a shorter time period may be required.

  • Cyclical Counts

    DVRPC's cyclical pedestrian and bicycle programs conduct counts at the same location at regular intervals, on an ongoing basis. Locations were selected to represent a range of facility and land use types across our region. DVRPC's cyclical bicycle program has about 90 locations in PA and about 60 in New Jersey. Our cyclical pedestrian program has 170 locations in Pennsylvania only. Each program started with a "saturation" year or base year where each location was counted. Subsequently, each location is counted again, on a three-year cycle. The representative sampling of locations, taken over regular intervals, allows for measuring trends across land use, facility type, and by location.

  • Screenline and Cordon Counts

    Screenline and Cordon Counts: These are five year cyclical counts taken on roads that cross the border of the DVRPC region, cross the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and that cross over county boundaries. Counts are also taken on roads that cross the border for the Philadelphia Center City District. These counts are used to compare and create travel trends in the region used in our model.

  • Permanent Counts

    DVRPC also collects data from trail use counters located on Circuit Trails throughout the region. This data records trail use by direction and by mode (walking vs. bicycling) continuously throughout the course of a year. Trends in trail use can be analyzed since the inception of the program in 2008. Permanent counts also allow staff to develop seasonal adjustment factors which can be applied to project and cyclical counts to get the annual average daily bicycle or pedestrian count. The William Penn Foundation, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and Schuylkill River Development Corporation provided generous support for the acquisition and installation of the counters.

How Do We Count?

DVRPC owns, installs and maintains its own counting equipment. Our pedestrian counts are taken using ECO Counter pedestrian counters. Our bicycle counts are taken using ECO Counter pneumatic tube counters.

Where Does DVRPC Count?

All over the region! Our Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel Monitoring Page shows all of the counts we take. To search for a location, start by typing in the name of a municipality or a zip code to see a count to see if one's been done there. If you don't see the counts you're looking for, contact Joshua Rocks at jrocks@dvrpc.org to discuss options.

Who Gets Counts and How Can I Request a Count?

Most DVRPC counts are taken with funds from our Annual Work Program with locations that are selected by DVRPC's partners and staff. Counts are requested by DVRPC project managers and by our Counties for various purposes and projects. Depending on DVRPC capacity, a small amount of counts can be taken for a fee if requested.

Glossary of Bicycle and Pedestrian Counting Terminology

  • Average Daily Counts

    Average Daily Bicycle (AADB) or Pedestrian (AADP) volumes are calculated by summing each factored daily count and then dividing by the number of full days in the count (usually 7 days). To get the Annual Average Daily Bicyclists or Pedestrians, seasonal factors are applied to the raw count data available.

  • Seasonal Adjustment Factors for Bicyclists

    DVRPC's permanent counters provide yearlong data through documented weather conditions, seasonal and weekday variations. By analyzing this data for recurring changes associated with the calendar day over multiple years, DVRPC can measure the percentage amount that on average, a count is above or below normal. These seasonal adjustment factors are calculated for each day of the week within each month and range from .763 to 1.4. Daily totals from the observed count are multiplied by a seasonal adjustment factor and an equipment factor (provided by the manufacturer) and result in the Annual Average Daily Bicycles (AADB). An equipment factor attempts to correct for the average amount the equipment undercounts or misses users.

    For example: If a bicycle count on a Monday in March is 500 with a seasonal factor of .95 taken on ECO Counter equipment that has a 1.1 equipment factor then the corrected total or AADB, is 522 (500 * .95 * 1.1).

  • Seasonal Adjustment Factors for Pedestrians

    Annual Average Daily Pedestrians (AADP) volumes are calculated similar to bicyclists but since we don't yet have the recurring data for pedestrians associated with the calendar day over multiple years, we use factors from vehicular traffic on roadways. These vehicular traffic factors take into account route type, month of the year, and day of the week. Once the raw pedestrian count is multiplied by the roadway factor and equipment factor, all factored days are summed and averaged for the Average Daily Pedestrian count.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made on the part of DVRPC to provide valid and current information, DVRPC makes no representation, no warranties, express or implied, about the validity of this information and is not to be held responsible for errors in data obtained from this website.