Archive for May 13th, 2011

Learning About Bicycle Commuters

May 13th, 2011 18 comments

Metro is trying to triple the number of bicyclists accessing our transit services by 2020.  Our Bicycle & Pedestrian Access Improvements Study showed that although bicycling represents a small portion of station access now, this mode has very strong potential for growth.  For example, many of our parking customers live less than 3 miles from their rail station, and many parking facilities fill up between 7:45 and 8:30 am.

Custis Trail in-ground counter

As part of this campaign, we are trying to learn more about the travel patterns of bicyclists so that we can better plan facilities and services for them.  For example, how strong is the “seasonal” effect in biking?  What time of day do cyclists ride?  How does bicycling demand patterns compare to our rail and bus networks?

One source of data for these questions is the automatic bicycle counters that Arlington County has installed on the Custis Trail, a major trail for bicyclists between downtown, Arlington, and points west. This counter can sense the difference between a bicyclist and a pedestrian, and has been silently counting both since October 2009.  The counter is located at the top of the hill between Rosslyn and Courthouse (map).  Previous analyses of this data are available online.

While Custis Trail users certainly don’t necessarily represent current or potential bike-to-rail customers, they do provide some data-driven insight into the travel demand of bicyclists, whom we hope will be a key part to Metro’s long-term strategies for rail access.  So, the rest of this post analyzes bicycle counts by 15-minute intervals between October 2009 and February 2011.

Read more…