The Chainlink

Daily Ridership: Quantifiable Data Analysis- Estimated total number of people riding a bike per day in Chicagoland?

How many cyclists (commuters & recreational) do you think ride in the Chicagoland area during the summer on any given day? If we took the average, of a 2 week count, to make an estimated daily ridership number.... what would the average bike ridership number look like for Chicagoland? Does anyone know the number?

I have been scouring the internet for days looking for a total and have come up empty handed. What I did find was multiple articles and blogs stating that concrete ridership data is difficult to produce.  A data census was conducted in 2012 stating 19,147 people commute to work daily but that is just the commuters and the article goes on to say the figure is unreliable and there really hasn't been good test conducted yet. I'm hoping an insider on the chain link forums may know of a number.

Sidenote: Why not put in compression counters on all the main "spokes routes" bicycle lane highways and on the main recreational paved paths/trails throughout Chicagoland? I'm talking about those compression counters like the ones used to count the cars on the highways. Once a bike rolls over the rubber rope filled with air and changes the pressure on the "thump-thump" it counts 1 bike and so on and so on.

Any help would be great.

-Andrew

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Pretty sure the "why not" is $$$.

The cheapest commercial tube counter I found was this one for $250 (plus the tube itself for $20) or there's a DIY that runs about $80, but it's got to be assembled and programmed, and time is money...  Multiply that by the number of interesting sites in Chicago, and consider that the data needs to be collected and interpreted and documented, and there's the reason why we don't have the data already...  But maybe there's some streetsblog enthusiast team that wants to slowly build an arsenal of devices and then deploy them everywhere at once?  Sounds like a pretty great project to me! 

But seriously, having one private counter collecting daily info from any single site for a whole season/year/etc. would create a pretty useful picture, too, wouldn't it?  Hmm... $80...

CDOT does a quarterly cordon bike count around the loop and (did?) monthly counts at some intersections at peak times:

http://chicagocompletestreets.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Spring...

http://chicagocompletestreets.org/your-streets/bikeways/bike-counts/

https://www.scribd.com/collections/4289227/CDOT-Bike-Counts

If you want the more detailed 15 min data than you need to FOIA them.

CDOT did do 24 hour pneumatic tube count back in 2009:

http://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/city/depts/cdot/bicycling/CDOT_bic...

Most of that data centers around people commuting to the loop at peak times because that is the easiest to count. If by Chicagoland you mean trying to capture people commuting to Metra Stations and using suburban bike trails on weekends then maybe individual towns have that data but trying to count all of that yourself would be a pretty major and expensive project. Is there anything in particular that you are looking for other than a number?

Active Transportation Alliance commissioned a study last year that resulted in an estimate of 125,000 daily trips by bicycle for transportation purposes alone, not even counting recreational. Here's the Streetsblog article on it, with links to the PDF report.

http://chi.streetsblog.org/2014/06/11/active-trans-at-least-125000-...

By Chicagoland I do mean all the suburbs and the city. The count could be done by one person but would be better done by a group.  The DIY counter kits would be good to get a quick number for a less expensive alternative to a more permanent solution. For the permanent solution the project would involve many different agencies, counties and implementations across multiple boards. It would be great to have info being collected throughout the entire season from multiple locations. Some other cities implement bike counters built into the pavement when they build out new bike Lanes or install them into existing ones. Some even have displays which shows year to date bike counts and for the day as your roll by. Maintenance free, only detects bikes, and batteries that last up to three years. all you have to do is install them. I provided a link here 

https://www.cityofmadison.com/bikeMadison/planning/visualbikecounte...

A simple google search for advanced counters will yield a ton of results. I wonder if this has been talked about for Chicago, which i'm sure it has. It would be RAD to have!!!! To be able to see the growth, the flow, the numbers.

The Links you guys provided are great!! 125,000 thousand daily trips by bicycle and that's nor even including recreational! 

Thanks for responding to my first ever post on the chain- link. 

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