Automatic counters monitor cycling traffic levels in Prague
Due to the hilly terrain and unfavourable winter climate, cycling in Prague has long been underrated. Now, with the emphasis on ecological modes of city transport its importance is growing; although it can be said that compared to other European cities its potential is still not fully appreciated.
Automatic CycloCounters are intended to further assist cycling around Prague to develop. Currently, there are 25 CycloCounters on Prague’s backbone network of cycle paths. They are situated at key cycling traffic points and on recreational routes. They show how cycling in Prague is growing in the respective locations, namely how many cyclists have travelled through the given places in specific directions at selected time intervals.
The counters´ functions:
• Monitoring over the long term
• Monitoring the effectiveness of new cycling measures
• Showing the demand for new infrastructure
• Motivating more frequent cycling
The automatic counters use components such as measuring units similar to those for automobile traffic, but are modified so as to tally people or bicycles. Sensors record individual users and even their direction of movement, and relay this to the processing centre. The data from the devices serves to track the development of cycling traffic, while also being publicly available on the service provider's website (https://unicam.camea.cz/Discoverer/BikeCounter/index, and as of 2018 on the Golemio data platform run by the ICT Operator https://golemio.cz
The annual data-gathering cost for the CycloCounters now in operation is 944,000 CZK (around 36,300 EUR).
Evidence of success
The CycloCounters give a detailed overview of cycling traffic 24 hours a day, through the seasons, as well as how traffic density changes during the day or week. Changes in traffic levels at individual counters can often be related to new cycling infrastructure or, conversely, to roadblocks further down the route. A comparison of the traffic on waterfront showed that 35% of cyclists here use the roadway, thereby justifying the need for appropriate road-sharing measures.
Potential for learning or transfer
Bicycle transport in the city brings undisputed advantages: it is an emission-free and exercise-rich activity beneficial to human health.
Getting data on cycling traffic levels in Prague helps the city to manage and anticipate more effectively how cyclists move around the city. The city has a better understanding of the cycling traffic data, and is thus better able to meet cyclists’ needs, which in turn serves to improve city transit for car-drivers, pedestrians and public transport passengers.
CycloCounters can be sited wherever the city is considering investments into new measures. Based on the cycling traffic data, the infrastructure gets modified to suit, e.g. by setting up bicycle racks or cycle lanes. The information from the CycloCounters makes it possible to gauge whether, say, a new cycle lane or cycle path will bring more cyclists to the given location or even notably alter the routes taken by cyclists making their way around the city.
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