Counting cyclists — err, path users

may 31, 2013 188


Regular users of Ottawa’s pathway network soon notice the tell-tale under-asphalt loops that connect to counters. We saw pictures of the newest ones under the new OTrain path just a few weeks ago. For the first time there will be counts on a pathway from day one. But only for cyclists. The counters don’t count pedestrians, dog walkers, strollers, and other users.

Our counters are also buried flush with the ground, in a miniature traffic man-hole.

So the one above intrigued me when |I came across it in London, On. There’s the tell-tale cut in the asphalt sure, but look closer and there appears to be an electronic eye at the upper level, which could include an optical counter.

may 31, 2013 186

4 thoughts on “Counting cyclists — err, path users

  1. “The counters don’t count pedestrians, dog walkers, strollers, and other users.”

    They count any metallic object of a certain size that passes over the loop. They do not distinguish what that object is.

  2. Do you have a reference for that claim, Chris?

    Back when I was past-president of CfSC and Zlatko was VP, the informatino he provided in his research on these devices was that they’re calibrated to count bikes and ignore cars. I suspect they’d have a lower limit for calibration also.

  3. Charles, I think what you said is consistent with what Chris said. They measure metalic objects of a certain size. I think they have upper and lower limits.

    1. It is nice that the city can count cyclists, at least at some points. Some data is better than no data, and only by measuring can we take adequate plans. However, cycle counting seems an extension of vehicle counting, both of which ignore pedestrians. The London post seems to have two holes on the side, which could easily be an optical counter, the ncc paths used to use optical counters, so with some math, one can count both peds and cyclists. Maybe we should too?

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