Cyclist and Pedestrian Counts

Quantitatively understand active transportation use and travel patterns

Activity Type : Understand
Participant Audience : Organizational Partners, Researchers

This tool borrows from a cyclist and pedestrian counting methodology established by the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. Using the count form in the Resources section of this website, observe and count cyclists and pedestrians in key neighbourhood locations. In addition to the number of cyclists, you can observe additional information, such as gender and helmet use, that may indicate the level of safety and comfort of the cycling infrastructure in the area. The method includes a formula to extrapolate data recorded in shorter observation periods to generate average daily pedestrians and cyclists.

What makes this tool valuable?

Cyclist and pedestrian counts are a good way to understand how many people travel on a given route, and what times and locations are busiest. This information is particularly useful when collected over time to establish trends in people’s modal choices in a given neighbourhood. This data also helps provide rationale for improving cyclist and pedestrian infrastructure in certain areas.

Image of cyclists
Tips & tricks
  1. Observe each location for two 2-hour intervals on the same day. This should give you enough data to extrapolate. The recording sheet will help you split these two-hour observation periods into 15 minute intervals. 
  2. If you have enough volunteers, you can pair counters and allow one person to approach pedestrians and cyclists with other survey opportunities, such as the Street and Travel Survey.