A Methodology for Counting Pedestrians at Intersections: Using Automated Counters to Extrapolate Weekly Volumes from Short Manual Counts


Accurate methods of counting pedestrians are needed to quantify exposure for safety analysis, rank infrastructure improvements and safety programs by priority, evaluate the benefits of pedestrian projects, develop models of pedestrian volumes, and track changes in pedestrian activity over time. However, pedestrian counts are still much less common than motor vehicle counts in most communities. In addition, existing count methodologies are not standardized and rarely provide enough information to extrapolate to weekly, monthly, or annual volumes. This exploratory study presents a methodology for estimating weekly pedestrian intersection crossing volumes based on 2-h manual counts. The methodology, implemented in Alameda County, California, involves a combination of manual and automated counts to determine weekly volumes. More than 690,ON pedestrians were counted during the 13-week study period. Manual counts were conducted at a set of 50 intersections. Automated counts from sidewalk locations in close proximity to a subset of 11 intersections were used to adjust these counts for time of day and week, surrounding land use characteristics, and weather conditions. The extrapolated pedestrian volume estimates were then used to calculate the number of reported crashes per 10 million pedestrian crossings at each of the study intersections. The results of this study demonstrate how pedestrian volumes can be routinely integrated into transportation safety and planning projects.

Publication date: 
November 1, 2009
Publication type: 
Journal Article