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.

    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

      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.