Getting Started

The main purpose of a bicycle and pedestrian count program is to measure bicycle and pedestrian traffic at all times in all locations on a system. To accomplish this goal, a robust and cost effective bicycle and pedestrian count program is needed.  Such a program is composed of two basic elements: a permanent count program and a short duration count program. 

If we had all the money in the world, we could install permanent counters at every location where we’d ever want to know bicycle and pedestrian traffic volumes. Since we are budget constrained, we instead use the continuous count data from the permanent count sites to create monthly, daily and even hourly expansion factors which can be applied to short duration counts. These factors allow us to estimate the annual average daily bicycle and/or pedestrian traffic (AADBP) at locations where counts are only available for anywhere from one hour to several months. Of course, there are many sources of error in such estimates, but we can’t create these factors without permanent count sites. This is why a cost effective and robust bicycle and pedestrian count program includes both a permanent and a short duration count program.

The diagram below details the key elements of creating a bicycle and pedestrian count program.  Specific guidance for each element is provided in the web pages that follow.



Most webpages in this guide include a list of resources including the latest research and published reports on the topic.

This checklist summarizes the steps in creating robust bicycle and pedestrian count programs.

Visit the IBPI Professional Development archive to view a slide presentation and video of the February 27, 2014 bicycle and pedestrian count webinar, which summarizes the material presented in this web page. Or view just the slide presentation below.


Join the discussion! Share what you know with others by joining the walk-bike-count discussion Google group.

Traffic Monitoring Guide

Since the basic information presented here is based on the Federal Highway Administration’s new 2013 Traffic Monitoring Guide (TMG) Chapter 4 for non-motorized traffic, we reproduce the relevant section from the guide for easy reference.  The TMG text is set off in a yellow box at the bottom of each page.