The Chicago Complete Streets Program conducts a Monthly Bike Count and a Quarterly Downtown Cordon Bike Count. Please see below for project statistics, descriptions and volunteer information.
The Monthly Bike Count is conducted one day per month at six locations during weekday morning and evening peak travel hours, 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM. The six locations have been selected based upon planned bicycle projects, existing bike facilities, ease of implementation and current ridership. The goal of the Monthly Bike Count is to better understand seasonal changes in ridership in Chicago. These six locations represent a diverse cross-section of geography, ethnicity and income.
The Quarterly Downtown Cordon Bike Count is conducted seasonally, in the Spring, Summer and Fall, at 20 locations during morning and evening peak travel hours, 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM, on a weekday and at 25 locations on a Saturday from 12-2 PM. The Quarterly Downtown Cordon Bike Count records the number of bicyclists who commute to and from Chicago’s Central Business District. The count boundaries surround Downtown Chicago along four screenlines: Chicago Avenue, Canal Street, Harrison Street and the Lakefront Trail.
If you are interested in volunteering for these projects, please contact:
David Smith, CDOT Bikeways Planner
Why count bicyclists?
Bicycle counts are conducted to measure seasonal changes in ridership and to better understand the impacts of enhanced bicycle facilities. Regularly conducted bicycle counts will help the Bicycle Program evaluate its progress on increasing bicycle use and creating a network that serves all Chicago residents.
How are bicycle count data used?
Bicycle count data are used to evaluate the utility of new facilities, locate frequently used routes, calculate mode share and perform crash analysis. As the Bicycle Program moves forward with designing new bicycle facilities it is valuable to have an understanding of ridership before and after project completion to help gauge its success. Bicycle count data can also be used to educate the public and local officials about the popularity and functionality of non-motorized transportation, to help justify the need for improved facilities and gain insight into the percentage of male/female riders.
The Bicycle Program will release statistics after each count and will develop an end of the year report summarizing the data.
How are bicycle counts conducted?
The monthly and quarterly bike counts are counted by manual field observations. Counters collect data at either an intersection or a mid-block point. Intersection counts include total number of bicyclists and bicycle turning movements, while mid-block counts record the number of bicyclists that cross a screen line. Additionally, these counts record the gender of riders.
How are count locations selected?
Count locations are selected based on future projects, current ridership and geography. Locations are carefully selected with the goal of accurately gauging ridership by avoiding “double counting” cyclists.
Interested in Volunteering?
The Bicycle Program needs the help of volunteer counters in order to effectively conduct these projects. Volunteers are provided with data forms and over the phone or in–person training. Counts are generally conducted over a
2 hour time period and no previous experience is required.