As pedestrian and bicycle volumes tend to be more variable than motor vehicle volumes, this study tested and evaluated five automated pedestrian and bicycle counters in different settings, including ranges of temperature, varying weather conditions, mixed traffic conditions, mixed travel directions, and facility types at test sites in Arlington, VA, Washington D.C., and Oakland, CA. The five tested devices represent four different technologies, namely: thermal imaging cameras with passive infrared sensors, radar, bicycle-specific pneumatic tubes, and piezoelectric strips. The study also tested standard pneumatic tubes.
The counter technologies were evaluated based on their accuracy of classifying bicycle and pedestrian volumes, ease of implementation, labor requirements, security from theft or vandalism, maintenance requirements, software requirements, cost, and flexibility of downloading and working with the count data. It should be noted that none of the tested products yielded perfect matches with the actual pedestrian and bicycle volumes; all required some calibration to the raw count data to produce better estimates.
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