Minimizing Annual Average Daily Nonmotorized Traffic Estimation Errors: How Many Counters Are Needed per Factor Group?

Krista Nordback, Sirisha Kothuri, Dylan Johnstone, Greg Lindsey, Sherry Ryan, Jeremy Raw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Accurate estimates of bicycle and pedestrian volume inform safety studies, trend monitoring, and infrastructure improvements. The Federal Highway Administration’s Traffic Monitoring Guide advises current practice for estimation of nonmotorized traffic. While methodologies have been developed to minimize error in estimation of annual average daily nonmotorized traffic (AADNT), challenges persist. This study provides new guidance for monitoring and volume estimation of nonmotorized traffic. Using continuous count data from 102 sites across six cities, the findings confirm that mean absolute percent error (MAPE) in estimated AADNT is minimized when seven-day short duration counts are collected in June through September and for 24-h counts, when data are collected Tuesdays through Thursdays (except for pedestrian-only counts). MAPE across all days (except holidays) and seasons was 34% for 24-h and 20–22% for seven-day short duration counts. The magnitude of bicycle and pedestrian volumes did not significantly affect estimation errors. For factor groups larger than one counter, the length of short duration samples may influence accuracy of AADNT estimates more than the number of counters per group, all else equal. To maximize precision of estimates of AADNT, four or more counters per factor group for bicycle and five or more for pedestrian travel monitoring are recommended. These findings provide guidance for practitioners seeking to establish or improve nonmotorized traffic monitoring programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2019.


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