Why Counts Matter
Nationwide communities collect data on vehicle movements, but rarely is data collected on bicycle and pedestrian use. Unfortunately this means that what isn't counted is not funded. Across the US, the bicycle movement is faced with needing to prove people walk and/or bicycle to meet their daily needs. Due to the lack of data of bicycle and pedestrian usage and movement, cities and counties have failed to provide safe and appealing environments for bicycling and walking and cities, counties, states, and the federal government have failed to provide adequate funding for bicycling and walking improvements. Collecting more data can help us demand more funding and better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Additionally, counts help measure the benefits of improvements in regards to increases in usage and reductions in collisions when compared to past collision data.
Currently, some of the only national data provided on bicycle and pedestrian usage is provided from the Census' American Community Survey (ACS) and the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), however, the data collected through the ACS is only on commuting to work trips so it misses much of the trips we make everyday to get to school, the store, friends, the bus, etc. The NHTS does provide more of the data on the daily trips the average American makes, however the sample size is small and does not provide specific information at the city or county level. In auto-centric Los Angeles County, the needs of the pedestrian and bicyclist population are often overlooked when it comes to transportation planning. To address this, LACBC has organized counts in various cities across LA County, including the City of Los Angeles, Glendale, and Culver City.
We are continuing these efforts and would like to see Metro and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) help organize all cities in the county and region conduct annual or bi-annual bicycle and pedestrian counts. According to SCAG, 12% of all trips in the region are made by bicycling and walking, yet only 0.5% of all of our transportation funding is allocated for bicycle and pedestrian improvement. It is clear more funding needs to be allocated for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, especially due to the fact that 27% of all bicycle related collisions in the entire state of California happen in L.A. County. Bicycle and pedestrian counts, in addition to collision data and specific census data, can provide cities with guidance on where bicycle and pedestrian improvements are most needed.
LACBC and Bicycle & Pedestrian Counts
In 2009, LACBC organized the first ever Los Angeles Bicycle and Pedestrian Count and has continued every other year. All collected data is open to public. You can check out or download raw count data at SCAG the Bike Count Data Clearinghouse or download our #LABikePedCount reports here: