2011 Bicycling and Walking Counts

A random pedestrian on the Lake / Marshall Bridge

From Amber Collett at Bike Walk Twin Cities

More Twin Cities residents than ever are getting around by bike or on foot. Bicycling in the Twin Cities has increased by 52 percent since 2007, and walking by 18 percent. Twin Cities bicycling, in particular, experienced a sharp year-over-year increase - up 22 percent from 2010 to 2011.

The new data comes from an official count of bicyclists and pedestrians passing 42 designated locations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul on weekdays in September 2011, and comparing this data with identical counts conducted each September since 2007. The counts were conducted by volunteers, who were trained based on a federal protocol.
 
Thank you, volunteers! We could not do this you without you.  
 
The BWTC count of bicycling and walking, conducted with several local partners and volunteers, is one of the largest counting efforts in the nation. BWTC, along with the other pilot program locations, is working with the US DOT to establish protocols for measuring nonmotorized transportation in ways that are comparable to other transportation modes.
 
Case Study of the Lake Street Bridge

BWTC is part of a national effort to evaluate the impact of targeted investments by estimating the overall impact of increasing bicycling rates. One of the models is the National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation Project.*

Marshall Avenue/Lake Street Bridge

The Lake Street bridge count data, using this national model, indicates that on an annual basis, there are more than 1 million trips across the bridge made by bicycle or on foot. That compares to 6.4 million annual motor vehicle trips for Lake Street Bridge (based on MPLS reported AADT of 17, 554 for 2008).

BWTC also has been conducting surveys at selected count locations. Almost half (44%) of cyclists and 19% of people walking across the Lake Street bridge reported that they otherwise would be driving a car.

The models indicate that for 2011 alone, at this one location, 388,614 trips were made on bicycle that otherwise would have been made by car. The 33% increase in bicycles from 2007-2011 at the Lake Street location means that 96,109 fewer cars trips in 2011 than in 2007-just for bicycling. 

Overall, it's important to note that models for projecting bicycling and walking count data have been in development for less than a decade. The data for motor vehicles is voluminous and the models have been used and perfected over half a century or more.

 *The National Bicycle & Pedestrian Documentation Project (NBPD) is being developed by Alta Planning + Design, in collaboration with the Institute of Traffic Engineers Pedestrian & Bicycle Council. In 2006, the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (FHWA) selected the NBPD as one of several evaluation systems to document changes in walking and bicycling for the Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Project in four communities (Marin County, CA, Columbia, MO, Sheboygan, WI, and Minneapolis, MN.