The Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian Counting Initiative: Methodologies for Non-motorized Traffic Monitoring

Greg Lindsey, Steve Hankey, Xize Wang, Junzhou Chen
October 2013
Report no. MnDOT 2013-24


The purpose of this project was to develop methodologies for monitoring non-motorized traffic in Minnesota. The project included an inventory of bicycle and pedestrian monitoring programs; development of guidance for manual, field counts; pilot field counts in 43 Minnesota communities; and analyses of automated, continuous-motorized counts from locations in Minneapolis. The analyses showed hourly, daily, and monthly patterns are comparable despite variation in volumes and that adjustment factors can be used to extrapolate short-term counts and estimate annual traffic. The project technical advisory panel made five recommendations: (1) MnDOT should continue and institutionalize coordination of annual statewide manual bicycle and pedestrian counts; (2) MnDOT should improve methods for reporting results of field counts and explore web-based programs for data reporting and analysis; (3) MnDOT should lead efforts to deploy and demonstrate the feasibility of new automated technologies for bicycle and pedestrian counting, focusing on new technologies not presently used in Minnesota; (4) MnDOT should begin integration of non-motorized traffic counts from existing automated, continuous counters in Minneapolis into its new databases for vehicular traffic monitoring data; and (5) MnDOT should work with local governments and explore institutional arrangements for (a) establishing a network of permanent, automated continuous monitoring sites across the state and (b) sharing and deploying new technologies for short-duration monitoring to generate traffic counts that provide a more comprehensive understanding of spatial variation in nonmotorized traffic volumes.

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Sponsored by: Minnesota Department of Transportation