Metrics matter. In the world of transportation, mode share and trip data drive planning, policy priorities and funding. This is important not only for motorized travel, but for biking and walking. We ought to be able to answer questions like: Are we investing in the right projects in the right places? How are our investments performing? While we have an abundance of data on motor vehicle use, we have sparse information about how many people are biking, walking and using trails, who they are, where they are going and why. With active transportation networks constituting a growing component of our transportation systems, it is imperative that we collect and share data on bicycling and walking in order to document use and travel patterns, demonstrate the value and popularity of trails, prioritize projects, compete for funding and inform travel demand models.
While this report was developed to make recommendations to improve active transportation and provide a regional picture of trail use in the San Francisco Bay Area, Trails Count! lays out an approach for developing a program that can be used in any region, and includes a list of resources that should help anyone looking to make a stronger case for trails.
The paper includes:
- An overview of common and emerging trail user data collection methods
- Examples of data sharing platforms to collect and publicly share bike/ped/trail data, including automated and manual counts
- Recommendations to create a robust Bay Area-wide bicycle/pedestrian/trail count program that could serve as a model for other regions
This report is a product of the Bay Area Trails Collaborative (BATC), founded by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) and the East Bay Regional Park District in June 2014. More than 40 public agencies and private organizations participate in the Collaborative representing active transportation, recreation, public health, equity, private business and environmental sectors.