Knowing the number of people are using our streets and sidewalks, and how they are doing so, is an important part of planning for increased pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Monitoring how the data associated with specific areas change over time and in response to infrastructure improvements gives the City information on how to better plan and execute pedestrian and bicycle safety improvement projects. With this objective in mind, the City of Somerville initiated a comprehensive survey of pedestrians and bicyclists in the spring of 2010. With the help of the Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee and numerous volunteers, 35 locations throughout the city were observed for an hour during the morning and evening peak hours.
The Program is designed to conduct comprehensive counts twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Over time these data sets will help reveal trends in bicycle and pedestrian activity, and the impact of increased bicycle facilities, crosswalk or other pedestrian improvements, or even new transit stations, on the overall level of bicycle and pedestrian activity in the city. The project aims to create a snapshot of activity across the entire city and then compile detailed data over time to influence future decisions on where to prioritize safety improvement projects.
Volunteers conduct counts for one hour during the morning peak (7:15 – 8:45 am) or the afternoon peak (4:45 – 6:15 pm) at one location. Data are collected on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for exactly one hour within the specified collection time. Volunteers note four movements at each intersection, two on one street and two on another, and distinguish between bicyclists, pedestrians (including those in wheelchairs, using assistive devices, and children in strollers), joggers, and others. Others include those on skateboards, roller blades or segways. Volunteers can commit to as little as one hour of collection time or up to twice a day for the duration of the project (am and pm peaks on all counting days).
Answers to common questions on methodology can be found in the Counting Program's Frequently Asked Questions. For further questions on the methodology, volunteers can watch this video.
Spring 2011 Counts
To view the results of the data collected in Spring 2011, click here. This data was analyzed via GIS to compare the numbers with previous years, and then presented to the community and featured in the local press.
Fall 2011 Counts
To view the data collected in Fall 2011, click here.
Fall 2012 Counts
To view the report on the 2012 counts, which posted some impressive numbers, please click here.
We are looking for volunteers to help with counting in September! The one hour of counting needs to take place between 7:15 and 8:45 A.M. or between 4:45 and 6:15 P.M. on one of the following days:
- Tuesday, September 3rd
- Wednesday, September 4th
- Thursday, September 5th
- Tuesday, September 10th
- Wednesday, September 11th
- Thursday, September 12th
Volunteers are able and encouraged to do more than one hour and/or day if possible!
Please contact Sarah Spicer at sspicersomervillema [dot] gov or 617.625.6600 ext. 2519 to sign up for the project. Counting locations are available here.