RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation, in conjunction with local governments, has announced an innovative plan to track the popularity of greenways, bicycle facilities and pedestrian pathways across the state. With the help of powerful new technology, NCDOT will soon have the ability to gauge how popular bicycling and walking is in North Carolina by collecting bicycle and pedestrian traffic usage data.
"Putting hard data behind North Carolina's bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure will allow for a more calculated and fact-based approach to future development across our state," said Lauren Blackburn, Director of NCDOT Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation.
With its pilot program now in place, NCDOT has funded the installation of 20 continuous counters located strategically around the Piedmont Triad and western Triangle region. The counter installations and the planning that led up to site selection were coordinated efforts between NCDOT, members of local governments, and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at N.C. State University.
Fifteen of the 20 active counters will be placed around the Piedmont Triad, five will be located throughout the Research Triangle and five additional sensors are being assigned to other locations. The counter installation sites were chosen to help create a general picture of bicycle and pedestrian traffic in a wide range of traffic pattern situations. Sites represent both rural, urban and university locations; and they consider commuter and recreational traffic types.
Sensor locations include the American Tobacco Trail in Durham, Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem, the Libba Cotten Bikeway in Carrboro, and South Elm Street in Greensboro.
"North Carolina is one of a handful of state DOT's collecting information about how people use its bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and in turn, is leading the nation by sharing that data with local partners so they can make informed decisions," said Liz Stolz, Director of Health and Active Transportation Programs at Sprinkle Consulting, the group installing NCDOT's counters.
Each site features two types of counters manufactured by Eco-Counter -ZELT inductive loops for monitoring cyclists in each direction and a Pyroelectric sensor that uses an infrared detection zone to count pedestrians.
North Carolina is helping to blaze the trail for state-funded bicycle and pedestrian counter programs. For more information regarding the first round of installations, please contact Patrick McCaully at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919)707-2683.
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