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13 January 2023
Best Practices for Winter Counting
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Ever wonder how winter weather affects the traffic on your trails? Cold, rainy, and snowy weather can have a huge impact on pedestrian and cyclist traffic, as can reduced daylight hours. Winter weather might attract different modes of traffic too, such as fat bikers and cross-country skiers. Counting people year-round is a great way to understand seasonal traffic trends.

If you count users manually, collecting a variety of data is key. Aim to count at various times of day to account for changes in daylight, and in different weather conditions to capture a fuller picture of traffic on your trails.

One of the greatest benefits of automatic counters is that they measure traffic 24/7, 365 days a year, meaning you can capture seasonal trends without having to be outside in inclement weather. Our counters are designed to withstand the elements, including cold winter temperatures. However, there are a few best practices to keep in mind, in colder climates with ice and snow.

The City of Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec uses PYRO counters to measure cross-country ski traffic on their trail network


  • Keeping your bike paths groomed isn’t only good for cyclists, it’s good for your counters too. ZELT inductive loops function best when snow and ice is kept to a minimum.


  • Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Just not directly on your sensor lenses. Keeping the lenses of your PYRO counters is essential in ensuring count data is collected properly. Check up on your counters and your data to make sure your counter is functioning optimally.
  • Make sure your counters are visible to snow removal vehicles so that they don’t get knocked out of place.
  • PYRO sensors function optimally when they are mounted at roughly hip height on a person. Regularly grooming trails will help keep snow accumulation to a minimum, which means the space between the ground and your sensor won’t change significantly through the season. If you’re using a PYRO-Box, you can easily mount it slightly higher as snow accumulates underfoot.

If you are interested in learning how weather conditions impact your count data, our Weather Module makes it possible to overlay local temperature, wind, rainfall, and snow data on top of your count data.

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