Washington State bicycle and pedestrian documentation project

The Washington State Documentation Project collects bicycle and pedestrian usage data in cities throughout the State. It is similar to the National Documentation Project and occurs annually in the early fall.

Call for Volunteers

The 2020 bicycle and pedestrian volunteer counts will occur on October 20-22.

WSDOT and the Cascade Bicycle Club are enlisting the support of volunteers and other organizations, like Feet First and Washington Bikes, to benchmark the numbers of people bicycling and walking on trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, and other facilities across the state.

Annual Count Volunteer Resources

If you are volunteering for the 2020 bicycle and pedestrian count effort, please go to the Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian
Documentation event website
where you can:

  • Register for this year's count
  • Select count locations, days and times
  • Print out count forms
  • Enter collected count data
  • Find contact information 

Existing count data

Review bicycle and pedestrian data from previous years on a map at our bicycle and pedestrian count portal.

Collecting Network-wide Bicycle and Pedestrian Data: A Guidebook for When and Where to Count

The purpose of this guide (pdf, 4mb) is to provide recommendations for collecting network-wide bicycle and pedestrian count data. Communities within the State of Washington can use this guide to establish a network-wide count program to help measure bicycle and pedestrian travel over time on a network.

How Permanent Counters & Annual Counts Work Together

Review the bicycle and pedestrian count webinar (pdf, 8mb) on Washington's Bike and Walk Data Network: How Permanent Counters & Annual Counts Work Together

What cities we focused on in 2018

Counts have been conducted all over Washington State, but focused on several cities in 2018 including:

  • Anacortes
  • Bainbridge Island
  • Battle Ground
  • Bayview
  • Bellevue
  • Bellingham
  • Benton City
  • Bothell
  • Bremerton
  • Burien
  • Burlington
  • Ellensburg
  • Everett
  • Issaquah
  • Kelso
  • Kenmore
  • Kennewick
  • Kent
  • Kirkland
  • La Conner
  • Lake Forest Park
  • Lakewood
  • Longview
  • Mercer Island
  • Mount Vernon
  • Mountlake Terrace
  • Oak Harbor
  • Olympia
  • Parkland
  • Pasco
  • Puyallup
  • Renton
  • Richland
  • Seattle
  • Sedro-Woolley
  • Sequim
  • Shoreline
  • Skagit County (unincorporated)
  • Spokane
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Reservation
  • Tacoma
  • Tukwila
  • University Place
  • Vancouver
  • Walla Walla
  • Wenatchee
  • West Richland
  • Yakima

For more information

What is the purpose of the Count Program?

Transportation planning and design at all levels requires understanding of actual conditions. This involves determination of motor vehicle, bicyclist and pedestrian numbers. This data dealing with the characteristics of vehicle or people movement is obtained by undertaking traffic counts.

Just like motor vehicle counts, counting bicyclists and pedestrians at specific locations helps us to more accurately estimate demand, measure the benefits of investments, and design our projects. The information helps us target safety and mobility projects and improve our traffic models.

How do we collect the counts?

The documentation project uses a data collection protocol similar to, and consistent with, the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. We work with a network of city staff, bicycle club members, and other volunteers to collect counts and document them using this consistent process.

Are the counts collected by volunteers valid?

Yes. This documentation project uses a very traditional method involving placing observers at specific locations to record bicycle or pedestrian movements. Observers use tally sheets to record numbers consistently. In addition, city and state staff conduct a quality control effort to cross check many of these count locations.

Collecting manual traffic counts in this manner can often be superior to using mechanical counters or sensors and is much less expensive. In addition to their expense, mechanical sensors only cover limited areas of the traveled way frequently missing counts. They are easily displaced and damaged which can lead to inaccurate readings. Manual traffic counts are often required even when mechanical counters are used to ensure accuracy.

Although the data collected is useful, WSDOT recognizes that improvements to the current count methodology would have greater utility. Future counts are expected to implement recommendations from the guide (pdf, 4mb) Collecting Network-wide Bicycle and Pedestrian Data: A Guidbook for When and Where to Count, in order to better understand how many people are walking and biking statewide.