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Meet Our Bikes Count Winner Part 1: Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance
During May's Bike Month, the League and Eco-Counter hosted a 'Bikes Count' Data Competition that provided two winners with expert cleaning, analysis, and visualization of their bike data. Check out the following blog from our friends at Eco-Counter for more on the data from Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, our advocacy organization winner. This is part one of a two-part series so keep an eye on our blog for part two!
The two winners of the first-ever 'Bikes Count' competition are the City of Charlottesville in Virginia and Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance (TVCA) in Boise, Idaho! Throughout the summer, we have been supporting Charlottesville and TVCA to get the most out of their cycling data and to use those insights for meaningful, bike-friendly change in their community.
Over the next two blog posts, we are going to dig into each winner’s story and the data that makes an impact on their biking movement. Today, we start with Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance.
If You Don’t Count, It Doesn’t Count
Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance is a non-profit membership organization of volunteers working to promote bicycling and improve transportation infrastructure for bicycles in Idaho’s Treasure Valley. Since 2007, TVCA has conducted manual counts of cyclists twice a year in September and May using the intersection turn counting methodology. Counts have been conducted at over 140 locations during commuter times (7-9am and 4-6pm), totaling nearly 37,000 bikes counted.
A core goal of the TVCA manual count program is to leverage the data to help local agencies – notably highway districts and the city – to make better bike infrastructure decisions in communities that do not have them. Despite having more than 14 years of counts, the data, however, wasn’t making as much of an impact as they would have liked. TVCA lacked the skill and volunteer resource capacity to sort, analyze and communicate the data. That’s where the Bikes Count grant came in...
After an initial handover session, our dedicated data services team dug into 14 years of TVCA manual count data and began the cleaning and analysis process. TVCA was particularly interested in capturing trends over time, understanding the spatial distribution of cyclists across the city, and having some tools to communicate the growth of cycling.
Manual Counts, Automated Counts and Data Extrapolation
With so many count locations around the city, TVCA are unable to count at the same location every year, providing significant challenges for year-on-year data comparisons. To compensate for these gaps, our data services team applied data extrapolation: the process of calculating seasonal bike and pedestrian volumes from short-term count studies using cluster analysis. Manual count data was correlated with nearby data from automated bike count stations to build our data extrapolation model and inform annual average daily traffic (AADT) estimations.