Annual Average Nonmotorized Traffic Estimates from Manual Counts: Quantifying Error

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Transportation Research Record

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Across the United States, jurisdictions are investing more in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, which can benefit from nonmotorized traffic volume data. The design of nonmotorized counting programs varies. Whereas some agencies use automated counters to collect continuous and short duration counts, the most common type of bicycle and pedestrian counting is manual counting either in the field or from video. The objective of this research is to identify the optimal times of day to conduct manual counts for the purposes of accurately estimating annual average daily nonmotorized traffic (AADNT). This study used continuous bicycle and pedestrian counts from six U.S. cities to estimate AADNT and analyze estimation errors for multiple short duration count scenarios. Using two permanent counters per factor group reduces error substantially ( > 50%); afternoon counts seem to be best for reducing error (2:00 to 6:00 p.m.). Error on Sunday is often as good as, if not better than, Saturday, contrary to what others have found. Arlington has the lowest AADNTestimation error (mean absolute percentage error), probably because of better data quality and higher nonmotorized traffic volumes, and Mount Vernon, Washington has the highest. Average AADNT estimation errors for the studied short duration count scenarios range from 30% to 50%. Error is lower for the commute factor group, bicycle-only counts, scenarios in which more peak hours are counted, and when more than one permanent counter is available to estimate adjustment factors.


© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2018



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