As part of Eco-Counter active role to support bicycle development, we started an official partnership with the League of American Bicyclists in 2019.
The League of American Bicyclists is a major national bicycle advocacy organization, which has launched numerous successful projects to support bicycle use in the US: Bicycle Friendly Community Program, Bicycle Friendly University Program, Bicycle Friendly Business and the National Bike Summit hosted every year.
How do we support them? Through data of course!
Started in 2021, the “DataViz Competition” is co-publicized by Eco-Counter and the League on their respective websites and social media. The idea is simple: share with us your existing bike data (whether Eco-Counter data or not) and win a free high-value data service from Eco-Counter (in the form of a custom report, tailored for your needs). Analyses made were also presented during a webinar hosted by the League that you can rewatch on Youtube.
All Bicycle Friendly America program participants, as well as any state or local active mobility advocacy organizations in the US were invited to submit their proposal of data analyses, including goals for count data collection, challenges faced in collecting/analyzing data and equity and diversity considerations.
In last year’s competition (2022), 2 projects were nominated: Lincoln-Lancaster County and Madison/Fitchburg!
In this blog post series, we will dive a little deeper into what the challenges were and what the results showed!
“DataViz Competition”: and the winner is… Lincoln-Lancaster County! [1/2]
Lincoln-Lancaster County has been an existing Eco-Counter client since 2014, with 6 permanent counters and 2 mobile counters. Over the years, they have also collected short-term counts around the City.
Their idea was to get a better understanding of what was happening on the City and county’s cycling network. One of the specificities of the county is its dense network of trails.
The analysis done shows how the introduction of short-terms counts can allow for a more robust understanding of cycling activity throughout a city or region. For other best practices on short-term counts, see our other project in Stenshuvud (Sweden).
With Eco-Counter’s data expertise, we were able to use both permanent and temporary counters to extrapolate Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) at all locations. The map below presents those results.
Average Annual Daily Traffic at Permanent and Temporary Counting Locations
It looks from this analysis that the trail network is critical for cycling in the city. We also notice that bicycle volumes tend to grow closer to the City centre.
Put differently, this is what the average annual traffic per counting site looks like. As we see, Rock Island Trail and Billy Wolff Trail are heavily used routes within Lincoln’s existing cycling network.
This analysis gives a clear picture at a specific time, but what about the evolution of traffic in the past years? To answer this question, a temporal analysis was performed at a key location.
NB: One of the challenges for this analysis was data quality: prior to running the analysis, a historical data cleaning was done to have accurate and relevant figures. This is also one of the services our Data experts can offer.
The historical analysis tells three different stories: the steady growth of bicycle traffic from 2015 until 2019 (increasing by 5% annually), then the “bike boom” of 2020 due to a much-needed desire for outdoor activities during COVID times, and then finally a comeback to the 2019 norm in 2021 and 2022.
Interestingly this is the trend observed nationally in our Eco-Counter Index dashboard here:
Exploring the impact of the pandemic
Beyond the boom we saw in the previous graph, we also ran a deeper analysis on hourly profiles to get a better understanding of pandemic trends.
As seen and commented on the graph, bicycle use boomed in 2020 during weekdays with a notable peak of traffic during mid-day and late afternoon, but more obviously during weekends, with a massive increase of 45% between 2019 and 2020!
Winter Retention rate
One other interesting analysis which was performed is the winter retention rate. The North Street Cycle Track counter was analyzed by comparing winter cycling counts (Dec 2021 to end of March 2022) with counts during the peak cycling season (June 2022 to end of September 2022), revealing a winter retention rate of 30%.
And while it is a stretch to compare Lincoln with Oulu (Finland), a city that experiences extremely harsh and snowy winters, it is interesting to note that previous studies we did on this acknowledged “world’s best city for winter cycling” (i.e. Oulu) showed a winter retention rate of 37%!
About our Data Services
At Eco-Counter, we are committed to providing high-quality data expertise services that are tailored to your specific needs. Whether you need specific reports, validation and data reconstruction, or estimation of annual or seasonal volumes from short-term counts, we can help.
Beyond our physical products, we offer a wide range of services that can help you gain insights into your data.
Here is how we can help:
Our validation and data reconstruction services ensure that your data is accurate and reliable, so you can trust the results. Using a proven and reliable methodology, we validate, reconstruct data if needed, and communicate the results with you in full transparency.
We can also create specific reports to provide detailed analysis of your data, giving you the information you need to make good decisions.
In addition, we can also help you estimate annual or seasonal volumes from short-term counts. This is a valuable method for getting a better understanding of your network with less resources.