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Permanent Count Program

A permanent counter is an automated device in place 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Its purpose is to gather a continuous record of how bicycling and walking changes over time. Permanent counters provide a record that allows us to understand how volumes change with weather and season.
If cyclist and pedestrian travel patterns were the same everywhere, we could get by with just one permanent counter for the whole country! But in reality, many factors affect our travel patterns, from climate to culture.  For this reason, a permanent count program of multiple bicycle and pedestrian counters is needed to help us understand the time-related patterns of bicycling and walking in a region, county, city or state.

If your region has no permanent counters, consider installing one as soon as possible. Without this, one cannot compute seasonal adjustment factors, and without those one cannot estimate Annual Average Daily Bicycle and Pedestrian Traffic (AADBP) from shorter duration counts.
Creating a permanent count program is an iterative process. At least once a year review the data, look for patterns, group the sites, compute factors and evaluate if and where additional counters are needed. This series of web pages will discuss the steps in setting up a bicycle and pedestrian count program, following the general outline in the Traffic Monitoring Guide, Chapter 4. If you have no permanent counters, start with the Select Sites & Install page. If you have counters, start with Look for Patterns.

This is an area of ongoing research and the field is still working on answering some of the questions. We’ll update this website as new information and resources become available, so check back for the latest.





The process for collecting continuous non-motorized traffic data should follow the steps already outlined for motorized traffic in Chapter 3, as follows:

14. Review the existing continuous count program;
15. Develop an inventory of available continuous count locations and equipment;
16. Determine the traffic patterns to be monitored;
17. Establish pattern/factor groups;
18. Determine the appropriate number of continuous monitoring locations;
19. Select specific count locations; and
20. Compute monthly, DOW, and hour-of-day (if applicable) factors to use in annualizing short-duration             counts.

The following sections provide additional detail for implementing these steps.

In this edition of the Traffic Monitoring Guide, pedestrians and bicyclists are grouped together as non-motorized traffic. There will be differences in these two types of facility users that may affect the monitoring approach. However, the known distinctions and differences between pedestrian and bicyclist traffic will be pointed out in each combined section. As ongoing research identifies the best approach for each, future editions of the Guide may provide additional information for separate monitoring of pedestrian traffic and bicyclist traffic.