Five Benefits of Counting Cyclists for Business Districts

How does your downtown district move? Making a district easy to explore by bike brings benefits to both public health and businesses. The “feet on the street” can be increased by promoting cycling. Cyclists can make short trips without the worry of parking, which means more convenience purchases than other modes of transport.

Research by Portland State University showed that cyclists in the  Portland, OR metropolitan area spent the highest amount per month on convenience and bar purchases when compared to other transportation modes, and the second most on restaurant purchases.

Cyclist traffic data is becoming increasingly important to increase cycling to businesses, as well as to track the results of marketing and events. Counting cyclists provides a way to measure how frequently they visit a district and measure the current use of infrastructure.

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Case Study: Using Permanent and Temporary Counters in Quebec City

Quebec City is one of North America’s oldest cities and Canada’s 11th largest city with over 500,000 inhabitants. This picturesque city has no shortage of cycling tourism – there are 315 km of bike lanes to explore. In 2016, an official vision was created to encourage cycling as a practical and secure transportation option for visitors and residents alike. Part of this vision includes adapting the cycling network to the largest source of bike traffic – workers and students.

Jean-François Martel, Transportation Planning Advisor at the City of Quebec, shared with us findings from three permanent counters and two mobile counters tracking the numbers of cyclists who use key routes. As bike infrastructure is added or improved, permanent and mobile counters can provide the necessary data to perform before-and-after comparisons and communicate results.

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On the Sunny Side of the Street: Pedestrians Flows at Plaza St-Hubert

Plaza St. Hubert, one of Montreal’s most distinctive and shopper-friendly neighborhoods, was recently named a top place to visit in Montreal by The New York Times. The district is well-known for its culinary offerings, from classics like smoked meat to new trendy eateries. It’s hard to resist the charm of its streets with unique glass awnings constructed in 1984 and the strong community vibe.

The Plaza St. Hubert Business Improvement District represents the 400 businesses that contribute to the vibrancy of the area. Mike Parente, General Director of Plaza St. Hubert BID, has implemented pedestrian counters to make data-driven decision making and planning part of maintaining a top-notch visitor experience.

Counting pedestrians at Plaza St-Hubert has not only allowed for accurate event attendance numbers, but also for a clearer picture of how foot traffic flows through the area. We chatted with Mike Parent to learn more about the insights that count data provided.

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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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