Webinar Recap: Bikes Count on Campus
This week, the League co-hosted a webinar with data collection experts from our partners at Eco-Counter to help Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFUs) discover best practices for collecting and applying bike data on campus. Presenters included Matt Ainsley from Eco-Counter, Aaron Fodge from Platinum-level BFU Colorado State University, and our own Amelia Neptune. The webinar was capped off with an open discussion where BFUs were encouraged to share their success stories and challenges around conducting and best utilizing campus bike counts to help other BFUs in their journey to be better for those who bike at their college or university.
Why Collecting Bike Data On Campus Matters
- Make The Case For Investment: by knowing how many people bike on campus and specifics like where and why can help you build a case for investing in improvements for bicycling like bike lanes or more bike parking.
- Track Progress: collecting and tracking bike data helps monitor the success of bicycle master plans and creates a better understanding of areas in need of improvement.
- Support Long-term Goals: whether your goal is continuously supporting safe streets on campus or informing longer-term climate and sustainability objectives, data is an essential tool to support initiatives.
Topics covered during the webinar included:
- Manual counts: collected by students, staff, or volunteers; collectors should note time, location, weather conditions and nonstandard factors (like events); consistency needed (in high volume locations); capture morning and afternoon peaks. Manual counts are also a great opportunity to capture demographic and behavioral information (like whether riders wore helmets or stopped at stop signs).
- Automated counters: enable you to collect data 24/7/365; ideal for continuous data collection at various entry points.
- Using survey data to cover a bigger picture including perceptions and attitudes around bicycling
- Collecting data on bike parking
- Various types of bike data: hourly, seasonal, weather events, etc.
- Supporting Vision Zero planning with crash and safety data
Quick Takeaways From the Q & A portion:
- Taking photos of known challenges to bicyclists on campus to use along with your data can enhance your storytelling.
- Utilize campus newspapers to disseminate your data.
- Conversations with municipalities can go a long way. For example, talking about how and where they snowplow and helping to reprioritize this can help reduce challenges with obstructed paths and bike parking.
- Build a mutually beneficial relationship with academic programs and students interested in transportation planning where they assist in data collection and analysis.