Counting on volunteers to tally people who walk and bike

Statewide partnership preparing for annual count Sept. 25-27

  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018 2:13pm
  • News

Each year, the number of people who choose to walk, ride bicycles or take other active travel means as their mode of transportation is increasing in Washington.

How do we know?

Volunteers annually count the number of people who walk or ride bicycles at selected locations during a three-day survey. For those who would like to help, volunteer registration is now open for this year’s survey starting Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Volunteers are vital to the success of this project, and about 400 people are needed for the count. For the 2017 count, volunteers tallied more than 63,500 people biking and walking in communities across Washington. In 2017, the number of people who walked, biked or used other active modes increased 4 percent over the 2016 count, when evaluating comparable sites.

For this 11th annual survey, the Washington State Department of Transportation and Cascade Bicycle Club are partnering with FeetFirst, Washington Bikes and Futurewise to help count the number of people bicycling and walking Tuesday, Sept. 25, through Thursday, Sept. 27.

“This volunteer effort makes sure that people who bike and walk are counted as essential users of the transportation system,” said WSDOT Active Transportation Division Director Barb Chamberlain. “Each year that volunteers make the collection process possible, we get a more robust picture of the growth in active transportation.”

“We’re excited to once again work with the Washington State Department of Transportation to ensure that biking and walking counts across Washington state,” said Richard Smith, Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club, “This is possible only because of the hundreds of volunteers who care about safer biking and walking.”

Data collected during the count is used by state and local agencies to estimate demand; measure the benefit of bicycle and pedestrian project investments; and improve policies, project designs and funding opportunities. The data also helps agencies understand how and where to address active transportation options for people who don’t have the income to choose other transportation alternatives. For these people, walking and biking might be their only mode, or part of a multimodal trip to access transit.

As WSDOT embarks on an update to the statewide active transportation plan, this effort will shape the vision of a future with a complete, comfortable network for all ages and abilities.

In addition to the annual count, WSDOT, Cascade Bicycle Club, and local agencies are partnering to install permanent counters at locations around the state. To see counts from both data collection programs, visit the WSDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Portal.

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