The Washington State Documentation Project occurs annually in the early fall. Bicycle and pedestrian usage of specific intersections in cities throughout the State will be counted and documented, similar to the National Documentation Project.
WSDOT and the Cascade Bicycle Club have completed the 2012 Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. Over 60,000 bicyclists and pedestrians were counted in almost forty communities across the state. The 2012 report can be found in the yellow highlighted box to the right.
Counts will be assembled from all over Washington State, but focused on several cities including: Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Bremerton, Burien, Ellensburg, Everett, Federal Way, Ferndale, Gig Harbor, Issaquah, Kelso, Kent, Kirkland, Lakewood, Longview, Lynden, Mercer Island, Milton, Mountlake Terrace, Oak Harbor, Olympia, Orting, Renton, Richland, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima.
What is the purpose of this documentation project?
Transportation planning and design at all levels requires understanding of actual conditions. This involves determination of motor vehicle, bicyclist and pedestrian numbers. This data dealing with the characteristics of vehicle or people movement is obtained by undertaking traffic counts.
Just like motor vehicle counts, counting bicyclists and pedestrians at specific locations will help us to more accurately estimate demand, measure the benefits of investments, and design our projects. This information will also help us target safety and mobility projects and improve our traffic models.
How will we collect the counts?
This documentation project will use a data collection protocol similar to and consistent with the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. We are working with a network of city staff, bicycle club members, and other volunteers to collect counts and document them using this consistent process.
Will the counts collected by volunteers be valid?
Yes. This documentation project will use a very traditional method involving placing observers at specific locations to record bicycle or pedestrian movements. Observers use tally sheets to record numbers consistently. In addition, city and state staff will conduct a quality control effort to cross check many of these count locations.
Collecting manual traffic counts in this manner can often be superior to using mechanical counters or sensors and is much less expensive. In addition to their expense, mechanical sensors only cover limited areas of the traveled way frequently missing counts. They are easily displaced and damaged which can lead to inaccurate readings. Manual traffic counts are often required even when mechanical counters are used to ensure accuracy.