Methods for Estimating Non-Motorized Travel Activity

Transportation planning for people who walk and bicycle lacks clear data on usage. This lack of data makes understanding changes to safety and activity from infrastructure investments difficult for practitioners and decision makers. Collection of motorized vehicle volumes is a well-established practice with departments of transportation (DOTs) around the U.S. Vehicle volume data is an instrumental input for detailed analysis of travel activity and crash outcomes. Similar data collection programs for non-motorized systems are not yet established at the DOT level making clear understanding of performance of the system and detailed analysis of safety outcomes unachievable. Without necessary exposure information for non-motorized travel activity, safety analysis is often confounded because infrastructure improvements may induce non-motorized travel activity leading to a higher frequency of crashes making those infrastructure improvements appear more dangerous. Exposure data would allow analysts to control for changes in non-motorized traffic volume and more clearly understand how infrastructure improvements affect safety outcomes. In addition to crash analysis, non-motorized traffic volumes are needed to understand basic information regarding function of the transportation system.