Leveraging Signal Infrastructure for Nonmotorized Counts in a Statewide Program: Pilot Study

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Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

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Automobile drivers -- Behavior -- Analysis, Traffic signs and signals -- Control systems, Pedestrians -- Safety measures


Transportation agencies are beginning to explore and develop nonmotorized counting programs. This paper presents the results of a pilot study that tested the use of existing signal infrastructure—Model 2070 signal controllers with advanced software to log pedestrian phase actuations and detections from bicycle lane inductive loops—to count pedestrians and bicycles. The pilot study was conducted at a typical suburban signalized intersection with heavy motorized traffic that was instrumented on all four approaches with pedestrian push buttons and advance inductive loops in the bicycle lane for signal operation. One day (24 h) of video data was collected as ground truth. The data were reduced and compared with the controller logs. Results indicated that using pedestrian phases as a proxy for estimating pedestrian activity was a promising avenue for counting programs. During the pilot study day, 596 pedestrians crossed the intersection, and 482 pedestrian phases were logged (i.e., 1.24 pedestrian crossings per phase logged). However, bicycle counts were not as accurate because of a number of site-specific factors: (a) inductive loop location, (b) loop sensitivity settings, (c) loop shape, and (d) nearly half of the cyclists passing through the intersection were riding on the sidewalk. The pilot study was part of a research project to develop guidelines for a statewide bicycle and pedestrian counting program for the Oregon Department of Transportation.


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