Bicycle counter Budapest - results

The Hungarian capital has been undergoing a bicycling renaissance over the last half decade. However, there is no measurement data that demonstrates this. The country's first bike counter responds to this need and demonstrates that bikers play a substantial role in Budapest's urban mobility.

Background & Objectives

The Hungarian capital has been undergoing a bicycling renaissance over the last half decade, ever since the debut event of the wildly popular Budapest Critical Mass demonstration. The numbers of everyday cyclists grow year by year, and by now, cyclists have become a recognized voting bloc. A good measure of this emerging social force is that every party in this fall’s municipal election campaign has staked out a bicycling platform. Despite this evident progress, there are no empirical measures of how many people travel by bike in Budapest or how much their numbers have grown over the years. In 2008, City Hall adopted an elaborated “Cycling Concept,” with a headline goal of raising bicycling modal share to 15 percent by 2015. This, even though it has no updated figure on what the current figure is. To help fill this knowledge gap, the Hungarian Cyclists Club this year launched an initiative to start measuring local cycle traffic.

Implementation

As a start, the club proposed to install an automatic bike counter - the first in Hungary -- along a key downtown commuting route - the Small Ring Road. The counter would be installed on one side of the road, counting northbound passersby on a bicycle lane that had been created in the fall of 2009. Surveying technical examples from Vienna, Copenhagen, Malmo and other cities, the cycling club determined that the city could install an automatic counter that would track cyclists around the clock and collect the data in a computerised database. It estimated that the whole package could be installed and launched for HUF 1.5-2 million (EUR 5,360-7,150). For funding, the cycling club held a donations drive, which had, up to July 9, 2010, netted some HUF 1.15 million (EUR 4,100), mainly through small, individual contributions. A counter was purchased from SWARCO Hungary Kft., and was christened at a ceremony organised on July 2, 2010 by the cycling club. The 80 participants had the privilege to queue up and be the first to be counted by the new system. Everyone received a balloon marked with their respective number.

Conclusions

By mid-September 2010, the first results from the counter were in. They indicated significant daily bike traffic: on the busiest days, as many as 1,500 cyclists tripped the counter, while the average was almost 1,000. There were some teething problems with the system -- a week\'s worth of data was lost in early September due to a problem with the databases. However, enough data was collected over two months to give a basic picture of traffic patterns on this principle downtown bike route. The key numbers in September 2010: - average number of passing cyclists per workday: 981 - average number per weekend day: 479 - average hourly traffic during evening rush hour: 75 - maximum daily traffic: 1,507 - Maximum cyclists per hour: 155 All charts on the Hungarian Cyclists\' Club website: http://kerekparosklub.hu/szamlalo-eredmenyek Thanks for Greg Spencer for reporting about our project in english on http://cyclingsolution.blogspot.com http://cyclingsolution.blogspot.com/2010/09/heavy-traffic-on-little-ring-road.html http://cyclingsolution.blogspot.com/2010/07/be-counted.html    Critical Mass Budapest - 22th September 2010  More charts: July-August-September >> All numbers >> www.copenhagenize.com: 23 November 2010 Budapest Bike Counter 100,000th Cyclist