How we collect bike volumes on separated bike lanes

Separated bike lanes help to make cyclists feel safe

The City began installing automated bike counters as early as 2009 and today we report out on a monthly basis the volumes for four downtown separated bike lanes:

  • Burrard Bridge
  • Hornby Street
  • Dunsmuir Viaduct
  • Dunsmuir Street

About the counters

Over the years, the City has worked closely with equipment manufacturers to improve the technology, and we now see a high level of reliability and accuracy from the counters. In the past, there have been bike volume reports released to the public in various formats, and the City has continued to strive towards improving the quality and timely release of this data.

Data description

The data set contains volumes of bike counts as collected by automated counters installed on the following separated bike lanes:

  • The south side of the Burrard Bridge
  • The Dunsmuir Viaduct  west of the intersection at Main Street and Union Street 
  • Dunsmuir Street west of Seymour Street
  • Hornby Street  north of Robson Street

The data includes:

  • Monthly two-way totals rounded to the nearest thousand
  • Mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) averages rounded to the nearest hundred bikes

The automated counters provide continuous, hourly bike volumes for each direction of the bike lane. The hourly volumes in each direction are totalled to provide a daily volume, each day per month is then added to provide a monthly total two-way volume. 

Data accuracy

The data provided by the City is an approximate volume of cyclists at each location. 

Missing data from the automated counters occur within the raw data set due to vandalism or equipment failure.  Methods including regression, ratios between in and outbound volumes, or averaging have been used over the years to fill gaps in raw data to calculate a monthly total volume. The magnitude of missing data is approximately 5% (approximately 240 partial or full days missing out of a total 5,000 count days).

Adjustment factors have at times been applied to estimate the monthly total volumes and mid-week average. Based on routine checks, there can be a margin of error with the automated counters when compared to manual counts (cyclist density, material of the bike wheels and frame, and cyclist behaviour can affect count accuracy). The adjustment factors for the total monthly volumes and mid-week averages in 2012 were applied in the fall of 2012 after the initial release of the volumes in Appendix A of the "Downtown Separated Bicycle Lane Status Report, Spring 2012". Adjustment factors were used in 2009 and 2012 only. The magnitude of the adjustment factors is on average 5% of monthly total volumes.

Note The material provided by the City is not an official statement of City policy, practice, services or procedure, and should not be construed as such. It is intended only to provide immediate and convenient access to information. While efforts are made to provide accuracy and currency, the City cannot and does not guarantee that the information is always accurate or current.  The City does not make any representations as to the quality, content, accuracy, or completeness of the bike counter information.