Bike counts are important to businesses and in evaluating our progress


Alyson Fletcher counts cyclists on 18th Street. 

The need for knowing how many people are cycling in Chicago should be obvious: to plan a good bikeway network that considers where people are already cycling; and to track the progress of the Bike 2015 Plan and other related plans. There are multiple needs to count cyclists in Chicago, for civic planning, academic research, and business promotion. On Tuesday morning and afternoon last week, volunteers at several downtown Chicago intersections were armed with pencil and paper to count people cycling (towards downtown in the morning, away from in the afternoon).

The City’s bike count program is now getting into a groove of consistent and periodic tabulating after a time of sporadic counts in different locations (mostly for single facility analysis). A good bike count program is permanent, counting people at the same times on a regular basis at the same location. The new program, which started in 2011, will count cyclists at the same places in downtown Chicago, at the same time each month. Not only can the City use this information to plan a network (and hopefully more bikeways in the Loop), but it can be used to track the impact of bikeways and cyclists on ridership and traffic, respectively. Continue reading Bike counts are important to businesses and in evaluating our progress

Bike count projects in Chicago: two short video interviews


Bike counts are getting more attention this year than in previous years. Watch these two short interviews to get a little insight on how. A full story will be published later.


Alyson Fletcher is a graduate student from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; she’s also volunteered for Active Transportation Alliance. She was here last week to count cyclists on 18th Street and Kinzie Street. Watch the video to learn more about her masters project.


Alessandro Panella volunteered for the Chicago Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) quarterly downtown bike count on Tuesday. Watch the video to learn about the responsibilities he had at Randolph and Canal Streets, and his idea to make a robust bike count program.

Watch all of our other videos on the blog, or on Vimeo.

P.S. It was after my interview with Fletcher that I photographed two people driving in the bike lane.

Photo of Fletcher filling out her counting chart (tally sheet).