Automatic measurement of cycling traffic volume
In the city of Copenhagen many counters are established to evaluate the amount of cyclist in the whole city. For transport and urban planning issues it is important to have detailed statistics and information about the numbers of cyclists using the cycle infrastructure in different areas of the city.
Two of these counters are not hidden under the surface but they are installed on the surfaceabove ground and thus visible for cyclists and other road users. The idea is to show the cyclists that every cyclist counts and that they are not alone in using the road. With these visible counters the cyclists can see that they are part of a larger group of cyclists and feel perceived by the municipality. It is a measurement to show to cyclists that they are considered in the municipal planning process and that things are done for them. It is also part of the branding of Copenhagen as a Cyclist's Town and combines this with the interest of the planners to gather information about the numbers of cyclists and the ways they use.
The two visible counters are installed in two places in the town centre which are very busy traffic knots and used by a high amount of cyclists. Both locations are very central, exposed and visible. The first one started counting on the first of May 2009 in front of the Town Hall on the Radhuspladsen. The second one followed on the 15th of June 2009 on the Dronning Louises Bro in the beginning of the Norrebrograde. The Norrebrogade is the most important connection for cyclists into the city centre.
The admistration receives more positive feedback about the visible counters than expected beforehand. Cyclists really notice the counter and memorise the number. For example people passing by the counter on a daily basis notice that the number differs if they are earlier or later than usually. This not only evokes a feeling of being accepted as a cyclist, but also sends the right message across: cycling as a normal mode of transportation is taken seriously and is considered in the towns planning department: it matters being counted.
About one year after the installation, the counter at the Dronning Louises Bro/Norrebrogade has been passed by about 10 mio. cyclists. That number equals twice the population of Denmark and 20 times the population of the City of Kopenhagen, proving the significance of cycling! The numbers of the daily usage vary because of external influences e.g. the weather and the difference between working days and holidays, but the highest figure measured was about 30,000 cyclists/day on Dronning Louises Bro/Norrebrogade.
For the counters' first anniversary a small celebration had been organised to demonstrate their success.
The counter was produced by a Danish company specialised in technological solutions for traffic issues. Other Danish towns like Odense and Alborg have installed counters as well, though they placed their orders at different companies. Their products don't differ much in technical details, but have varying designs. Several additionnal features could be added to the counters, like weather stations.
The cost of the investment is about 30,000 Euro. This includes the counter device itself and the mobile connection for transferring the gathered data to the administration.The mainentance cost of the device is fairly low, only powers consumption is needed.
There are no exact plans yet where to install more counters, but it
is a sure thing that more will come. One possible location will be
along the new commuting network which is being developed in
consultation with the neighbouring communities at the moment. For
old and new commuter-cyclists it could be a good motivation to
start and/or continue using the bike.
Mr. Niels Hoé-Svendsen
City of Copenhagen
The Technical and Environmental Administration
43, 2nd floor, Islands Brygge
DK-1505 Copenhagen V
Postfach Po.Box 450
Telefon: +45 3366 3692