Until recently, the PDCTC has had very little data about how many people are walking and bicycling, and where. To address this, the PDCTC has organized counts of how many people are walking and bicycling in different areas of Dutchess County. In 2012 and 2013 the PDCTC began counting pedestrians and bicyclists at various locations four times each year. These counts are now continuing on an annual basis each September. The counts follow the methodology developed by the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project and are used for several purposes:
First, they provide data that can be tracked over time to determine trends--e.g. how many more people are walking or bicycling after a project is completed compared to before; how many women are bicycling compared to men; how many bicyclists wear helmets, etc.
Second, the data can be used to determine crash rates and ‘hot spots’ for safety improvements. We have crash data, but need ‘exposure data’. If we know how many people are walking or bicycling in various locations, we can create crash rates (crashes per pedestrian or bicyclist volume) to better compare high-crash areas.
Third, the data can be used to prioritize locations for improvements, based on where the most people are walking and bicycling.
Lastly, the data can be used more generally to draw attention to the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists—to show that there are people walking and bicycling, at all times of the year, in many different places, and that they deserve adequate facilities, safety, and support.
Approximately 25 to 30 locations are counted for two hours on a weekday (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday) from 4-6 pm, and on a Saturday from 12-2 pm. Counts are done at ‘screenlines’ (along a street or trail) and a few intersections. At screenlines, the counter simply tallies each person that crosses in front of them on the street or trail.
The counts are conducted by volunteers from the PDCTC’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and other groups, but additional volunteers are needed! Volunteers benefit from seeing their community from a different perspective, participating in research that will be used by the County, and thinking about walking and bicycling as forms of transportation that deserve good planning. PDCTC staff provides training and count forms for volunteers.
To assist with the PDCTC’s pedestrian and bicycle counts, please contact us.