The Washington State Documentation Project collects bicycle and pedestrian usage data in cities throughout the State. It is similar to the National Documentation Project and occurs annually in the early fall.
Each year WSDOT and the Cascade Bicycle Club enlist the support of volunteers and other organizations, like Feet First and Washington Bikes, to benchmark the numbers of people bicycling and walking on trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, and other facilities across the state. The 2016 count will take place on September 27-29, 2016.
Counts have been conducted all over Washington State, but focused on several cities in 2015 including:
||Lake Forest Park
||Skagit County (unincorporated)|
||Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Reservation|
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What is the purpose of the Count Program?
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 helps us to more accurately estimate demand, measure the benefits of investments, and design our projects. The information helps us target safety and mobility projects and improve our traffic models.
How do we collect the counts?
The documentation project uses a data collection protocol similar to and consistent with the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. We work with a network of city staff, bicycle club members, and other volunteers to collect counts and document them using this consistent process.
Are the counts collected by volunteers valid?
Yes. This documentation project uses 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 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.