There are plenty of good reasons to analyze data from automatic Eco-Counters: to assess long-term trends (for instance, the annual evolution of cycling); to evaluate sensitivity to weather fluctuations; and to measure the impact of special events on bicycle usage. In this post, we look at the data from Paris’ bike counters to analyze the effect their car-free day had on bike traffic numbers.
Assessing the impact of special events: the first car-free day in Paris
For many years, magnetic bicycle detection counters (ZELT Loops) have been counting cyclists on Parisian bicycle lanes including Diderot Boulevard, Lafayette Street, Denfert-Rochereau Avenue and Rivoli Street.
On Sunday 27th of September, for the first ever car-free day in Paris, organizers closed off the eight center districts (‘arrondissements’) to cars, as well as some adjacent boulevards, and the two biggest parks in the city – Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne.
(Source: Agence de la Mobilité / Eco-Counter)
The count data from the day shows a visible surge in bicycle usage in the car-free zones. An astonishing 263 percent rise in traffic was registered by the Rivoli Street bicycle counter when compared with other Sundays in September. This impressive figure is only part of the story, as many cyclists took the opportunity to cycle out of the bike lanes where they couldn’t be counted.
A rise was also seen on other bicycle lanes – including those located outside car-free areas – with counters registering an average increase of 52 percent.