Winter Cycling Congress 2017 Highlights: Celebrating Successes and New Research

The Winter Cycling Congress is an invaluable opportunity to discuss cycling during our favorite time of year- snow and all! Eco-Counter was excited to be an attendee and exhibitor at the 2017 Winter Cycling Congress in Montreal, hosted by Velo Quebec. This year, celebrating successes and promoting winter cycling was top of mind. Here are some highlights from the conference.

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Mapping Bike Traffic Data: Revealing Infrastructure Usage Patterns

A common saying in the transportation world is “if you build it, they will come”. Measuring the impact of new bike infrastructure on cycling traffic and behaviour is top of mind for many planners and advocacy groups.

It’s now possible to say with greater accuracy how cycling behaviour is impacted by cycling infrastructure. Using count data to classify cyclist behaviour, Eco-Counter’s Fraser McLaughlin mapped out bike traffic data in Arlington, Virginia per average behaviour patterns.

Behaviour is categorized as either commuter, recreational or mixed by using a type of statistical analysis called cluster analysis. If you missed Fraser’s presentation on cluster analysis research at Bike Hack Night in Washington D.C. (pictured), read on to learn more.

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Count Data Best Practices: Building a Parks and Rec Data Toolkit

Visitor count data is an effective way to tell a park or trail’s story. In one case, data helped save a home for llamas! High Park Zoo in Toronto faced proposed budget cuts in 2012, and using count data, they successfully made the case for its value. Over 500,000 visitors were recorded annually using PYRO counters.

Pinpointing where and when facilities are used most is important for managing resources and budgets. Great Rivers Greenway in St. Louis uses count data at various locations along their greenways to help determine where to focus maintenance and operational tasks.

Thinking of including count data in your data toolkit? Here are some best practices for collecting and analyzing count data.

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Seven Bike-Friendly Bridges Counting Cyclists

Bridges are captivating architectural features of any city or region-especially when cyclists and pedestrians can use them! Designated space for cyclists on bridges can help to encourage cycling overall. They serve as crucial links between areas that are often hard to reach due to urban or natural obstacles.

Counting the numbers of cyclists is one way to measure the impact of new or modified bridges. Gathering consistent data on cyclist numbers shows changes and trends over time. A bike count display can rally support for new cyclist infrastructure investments by making data public and accessible. While making your way over a bridge, you might be encouraged to know you’ve joined thousands on the same journey!

Here’s a list of seven bike-friendly bridges both old and new that are counting cyclists. We’d like to make the trip across these bridges!

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Winter cycling in Montreal: What’s new in time for WCC 2017

Visiting Montreal for the Winter Cycling Congress in February? This year, improvements in winter maintenance are making winter cycling easier for visitors and seasoned residents alike. Cyclists can now enjoy 429 kilometers of bike paths that will be cleared throughout the winter. 

Montreal’s four-season network is growing and a list of paths can be found here. Here are a few other recent improvements to look out for:

Lachine Canal Snow Removal

A new pilot project by Parks Canada and the City of Montreal clears snow on a 1 km section of the Lachine Canal. The Lachine Canal connects riders to the four-seasons network and is a popular destination for cyclists.

Apps for Finding Your Way

Need to find out if a path is cleared or other information? There’s an app for that! InfoNeige can tell you if a path or trail has been cleared. The app connects to the city’s open data. Use the MonResoVelo app to plan your routes and supply data on your trip back to the City of Montreal for future planning.

Events Celebrating Montreal’s 375th Anniversary

While having no impact on amount of snow on the ground, fun events will lift your spirits. On Saturday, February 11th, take part in a night ride challenge organized by Vélo Québec as a closing event for the Winter Cycling Congress. The event is free event and open to the public.

Learn more about WCC 2017. We’ll be there! David Beitel and Eco-Counter’s Jean-François Rheault will be presenting “Evaluating the temporal evolution of winter bicycle ridership” on February 8th.

Counting the Impact of Events: Small Business Saturday

The holiday season is a time of increased events and marketing efforts. Measuring the impact of events on foot traffic is often a challenge for downtown district event organizers. Methods to determine the impact of events may include talking to businesses after an event,  performing manual counts or handing out surveys.

Automatic counters record continuous data on foot traffic during events. In Wilmington, Delaware, Small Business Saturday was organized on November 26th as an important way to attract shoppers. Foot traffic on Market Street during the event was measured using automatic counters. Counters will be used for other future events like the LadyBug Music festival.

>>Read more about measuring foot traffic during Small Business Saturday in Wilmington

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Upcoming Event: TRB 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Heading to Washington, D.C. this weekend to take part in the Transportation Research Board’s 96th Annual Meeting? It’s a great opportunity to learn about the latest research and best practices in active transportation data. Eco-Counter will be at Booth 523 to share our expertise and engage in discussions. We also have some top picks for bike-ped data events!

Bike Hack Night, held in conjunction with TRB, is a must-see for all “transportation techies”! Don’t miss a presentation on Tuesday, January 10th by Eco-Counter’s Fraser McLaughlin on bicycle traffic patterns in Arlington revealed through cluster analysis. Simply RSVP on to attend. If you can’t make Bike Hack Night, you can learn more about cluster analysis in Hall E on Monday with Fraser at our research poster on estimating daily bike volumes from short-term counts.

Eco-Counter’s Jean-Francois Rheault will be presenting as the Industry Representative at Quality Volume Data for Bicycling and Walking (Workshop 158) on Sunday from 1:30pm – 4:30pm. Attend to learn more about quality issues in data related to active transportation.

Big data and managing large amounts of information will be a hot topic at TRB 2017. Learn about approaches to handling large data sets at Workshop 109, Big Data Analytics in Transportation on Sunday 9am – 12pm. Advances in data collection for active transportation will also be discussed Session 285, Exploring Innovative Data Sources and Approaches for Bicycle and Pedestrian Data Collection on Monday 10:15am – 12pm. We hope to see you there!

For a full conference program, visit the TRB website.

Image Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

Ridership Data in Calgary: Guiding Decision-Making

The results are in! Cycling along the protected bike lane network in Calgary has tripled overall since its installation, according to the City of Calgary’s Summary Report on ridership data.

A total of 10 automatic counters measured bicycle volumes at key locations in the network. Target volumes were set for each location and baseline bicycle volumes were measured in Fall 2014.

The Fifth Street bike count location has exceeded its target. Trips made by bicycle increased from 4% to 15%. The bike count display at this location was maxed out on October 25th and a total of 567,154 bike trips were made from June 2015 to November 2016.

The impact of the cycle track on winter cycling was also measured. Four times as many daily winter bicycle trips were made following the addition of the cycle track. The cycle track was maintained during the winter and cleared of snow within 24 hours.

>>Read more about Calgary’s cycle track network on CBC News

Data-Driven Trail Management: Trail Usage Trends on the Great Rivers Greenway Network

Greenways connect people to natural spaces and urban locations, improving quality-of-life. Pedestrian and cyclist count data demonstrates the value of a greenway network, quantifies the impact of new infrastructure, and reveals trends in peak traffic. Great Rivers Greenway, a governmental organization overseeing a 113-mile-and-growing greenway network in the St. Louis Region, required reliable count data to promote and sustain their network.

Going Beyond Manual Counts: Reliable Automatic Count Data

In Spring 2014, Great Rivers Greenway installed bike and pedestrian automatic counters across two counties and one city. Reliable, cost-effective, and easy-to-collect automatic count data was needed to assess changes in greenway usage over time. As new greenway segments were constructed, several counters were added.

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