For the first time ever, Portland will take part in a nationwide effort to document the number of people biking and walking on our streets.
The National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project was initiated in 2003 by Alta Planning and Design (a nationally known bike and ped planning firm with nine offices around the country, including Portland). Alta compiles that data through a joint effort with the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).
Alta’s Mia Birk says they approached the ITE because they publish an important journal on vehicle counts known as the “ITE Trip Generation Manual” and Alta wanted, “a comparable document for bike and pedestrian counts.”
Birk underscored the importance of having these numbers during a phone interview this morning: “All traffic and land use models fail to accurately assess bicycle and pedestrian demand because the models are based on data from motor vehicle traffic… In the past, there’s never been enough data for modelers to use.”
“The goal is to build transportation and land use models that properly account for and project bicycle and pedestrian behavior.”
A description of the project published by Alta in 2005 notes that “the lack of documentation on usage and demand” is one of the “greatest challenges” facing the bicycle and pedestrian field and because of that lack of information, “it is difficult to measure the positive benefits of investments in these modes, especially when compared to the other transportation modes such as the private automobile.”
Birk says about 30 cities around the country are joining in the counting effort.
The City of Portland’s Office of Transportation (PDOT) is seeking volunteers to help count at 25 locations around the city. The counts will take place from September 9th to the 14th.
If you’d like to volunteer, contact Robert Spurlock at (503) 823-7164 or via email – robert[dot]spurlock [at] trans [dot] ci [dot] portland [dot] or [dot] us.
[Note: These counts are separate from PDOT’s annual bike counts, which are going on now at 140 locations around the city.]