People Powered Counts

Cascade Bicycle Club’s volunteer-driven biking and walking count program partners with WSDOT to provide an even better picture about how people get around Washington state.

How many people ride bicycles in Washington state?

Prior to 2008, it was a tough question to answer, but every fall hundreds of volunteers located all over the state collect data to complete the annual Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project and to help find the answer.

This program has expanded immensely. Since its inception in 2008, when it began with just 100 count sites, the program has grown to 384 unique sites in 2017. Hardy volunteers are stationed in strategic locations in cities and towns across Washington to count people walking and biking during both the morning and evening commute hours.

2017’s count had 425 volunteers counting 382 sites during the morning and evening commute times in over 46 cities across the state of Washington.

Volunteers are crucial to success of the bicycle and pedestrian count program. With more volunteers counting more places in more cities, a larger sample size of how many people are biking provides more confidence in estimating the number of bicycle riders using Washington’s trails and streets annually.

The one-day Washington State Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project will work in conjunction with the growing permanent bike counter network, which measures riding trends throughout the year and counts people riding 24 hours per day. While the annual count focuses on morning and evening commutes (and is able to occur in more locations than the limited permanent count network), permanent counters show a more complete picture of when people ride year round. Taken together, data can be combined to better understand statewide trends in how people get around by bike.

Want to learn where people are biking and walking in your part of the state? Explore the data collected near you the annual counts by visiting the WSDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Portal.

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Kelli Refer's picture
Kelli Refer