The objective of the project was to propose a harmonised method for monitoring the proportion of pedestrian and cycle traffic, which enables comparisons to be made over years and between towns, regions or the country as a whole. The intention is that the method should be mainly used for evaluations at an overriding level, for example for determining whether measures to promote increased pedestrian and cycle traffic have had the desired effect. The point of departure of the project has been that it is important for both modes, walking and cycling, to be monitored separately. The project has focused on local monitoring in Swedish municipalities of a certain size – at least 25,000 inhabitants, and the methods taken into consideration are travel surveys and cycle flow measurements.
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The evaluation of the preliminary method through municipal tests and analyses, and subsequent discussions, has resulted in some practical recommendations to local authorities concerning the way the proportion of pedestrian and cycle traffic should be monitored in order to enable comparisons to be made over time and between places. The basic units recommended are the proportion, represented by cycle traffic, of all trips which have their starting point and destination in the municipality on weekdays. Journeys in which cycling is combined with public transport are also to be reported, but separately. For the local authorities which perform a more detailed travel survey, with e.g. advanced geographical coding, the report also contains proposals for more detailed units of measurement.
With regard to cycle counts, we have drawn the conclusion that, with the resources that are reasonable at present, it is not possible, with the help of cycle counts, to reliably estimate the change from one year to another. Cycle counts can, on the other hand, be used for identifying trends in a longer term and for the planning and monitoring of specific measures on individual routes. A random selection of measuring sites should make it possible to estimate the cycle mileage in a municipality and, in the long run, also the change in cycle mileage, but this requires more preparatory work and may involve some practical problems. In addition, a large selection of measuring sites is needed for reliable estimates of change.
The proposed harmonised method is aimed at monitoring pedestrian traffic and cycle traffic so that trends over time may be identified and comparisons made with other places and on a national level. However, the proposal of a harmonised method is not enough; it is also essential that it should really be applied in municipal monitoring. In order that the aim of comparable proportions should be achieved, it is necessary that the Swedish Transport Administration, or a similar player with an overriding national responsibility, should devise incentives that motivate municipalities to apply the harmonised method.