Caltrans Research Workshop: Active Transportation Census

Caltrans Research Workshop: Active Transportation Census

Monday, July 25, 2022, 8:00am - 12:30pm PDT

Event Overview

This virtual workshop built a common understanding among Caltrans staff and partner agencies to facilitate development of a statewide active transportation census program. Major workshop topics included: 1) the purpose of and vision for creating a statewide active transportation census program;  2) key considerations for designing and operating an active transportation census program; and 3) integrating the census program with emerging, third-party data sources to provide information across the entire transportation network.

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The current Caltrans traffic census program was developed to provide motorized data to meet federal reporting criteria and supply the information needed to manage the State Highway System for vehicles. Management needs and reporting requirements have changed in recent years to include a new focus on active transportation, which will require bicycle and pedestrian count and volume data to implement. Caltrans has recently embarked on developing a statewide active transportation census program to meet these new data needs. Caltrans will focus on permanent and continuous data that is best suited for assessing travel volumes, patterns, and trends to support new infrastructure investments, evaluate the success of projects and programs, calibrate emerging transportation big data platforms, and track progress toward the department’s goals of increasing walking and bicycling statewide. Caltrans has not historically collected bicycling and pedestrian counts and can learn from other agencies and researchers that are already doing this work.


8:00-8:10am Pacific: Welcoming Remarks: Caltrans' commitment to developing a statewide active transportation census program. Speaker: David Man, Caltrans.

8:10-8:25am: Federal Perspective: Why collecting bicycle and pedestrian count data is important. Speaker: Darren Buck, Federal Highway Administration

View Darren Buck's Presentation Slides

8:25-8:55am: Keynote Address: Developing a successful active transportation census program. Speaker: Elizabeth Stolz, Marlin Engineering.

View Elizabeth Stolz's Presentation Slides


9:05-10:50am: Overview Presentations: The nuts and bolts of designing an active transportation census program. Speakers: Andreas Krause, Caltrans; Krista Nordback, UNC Highway Safety Research Center; Philip Stark, UC Berkeley; Julia Griswold, UC Berkeley; Phil Lasley, Texas A&M.

View Andreas Krause's Presentation Slides

View Krista Nordback's Presentation Slides

View Philip Stark's Presentation Slides

View Julia Griswold's Presentation Slides


11:00-11:40am: Panel Discussion: The California experience with designing and operating active transportation census programs. Speakers: Hina Chanchlani, Southern California Association of Governments; and Josh Rocks, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

View Hina Chanchlani's Presentation Slides

View Josh Rocks' Presentation Slides

11:40am-12:15pm: Presentation: Integrating continuous bike/pedestrian counts with emerging third-party data sources. Speaker: Sirisha Kothuri, Portland State University.

View Sirisha Kothuri's Presentation Slides

12:15-12:30pm: Closing Remarks: Next steps. Andreas Krause, Caltrans.

More Information

For more information about this workshop, please contact Andreas Krause, Caltrans Active Transportation Data Manager. For information about upcoming research workshops, please contact Tyler Monson, Caltrans Division of Research, Innovation and System Information.


Recommended Pre-Workshop Reading

Participants are encouraged to read "Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Programs: Summary of Practice and Key Resources" from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center before the workshop for a concise summary of current practice and key resources.

Academic Resources

Exploring Data Fusion Techniques to Estimate Network-Wide Bicycle Volumes (2022). Sirisha Kothuri, Joseph Broach, Nathan McNeil, Kate Hyun, Stephen Mattingly, Md. Mintu Miah, Krista Nordback, and Frank Proulx. National Institute for Transportation and Communities.

Generalized model for mapping bicycle ridership with crowdsourced data (2021). Trisalyn Nelson, Avipsa Roy, Colin Ferster, Jaimy Fischer, Vanessa Brum-Bastos, Karen Laberee, Hanchen Yu, and Meghan Winters. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.

Emerging data for pedestrian and bicycle monitoring: Sources and applications (2021). Kyuhyun Lee and Ipek N. Sener. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

Crowdsourced data for bicycling research and practice (2020). Trisalyn Nelson, Colin Ferster, Karen Laberee, Daniel Fuller, and Meghan Winters. Transport Reviews.

Minimizing Annual Average Daily Nonmotorized Traffic Estimation Errors: How Many Counters Are Needed per Factor Group? (2019). Krista Nordback, Sirisha Kothuri, Dylan Johnstone, Greg Lindsey, Sherry Ryan, and Jeremy Raw. Transportation Research Record.

Nonmotorized Site Selection Methods for Continuous and Short-Duration Volume Counting (2019). Kristy N. Jackson, Elizabeth Stolz, and Christopher Cunningham. Transportation Research Record.

Annual Average Nonmotorized Traffic Estimates from Manual Counts: Quantifying Error (2018). Dylan Johnstone, Krista Nordback, and Sirisha Kothuri. Transportation Research Record.

Optimizing Short Duration Bicycle and Pedestrian Counting in Washington State (2017). Krista Nordback, Sirisha Kothuri, and Dylan Johnstone. WSDOT Research Report.

Strategies for Monitoring Multiuse Trail Networks: Implications for Practice (2017). Greg Lindsey, Jeffrey S. Wilson, Jueyu Wang, and Tracy Hadden-Loh. Transportation Research Record.

Government Resources

Traffic Monitoring Guide (2016). Federal Highway Administration.

Coding Nonmotorized Station Location Information in the 2016 Traffic Monitoring Guide Format (2016). Federal Highway Administration.

Exploring Pedestrian Counting Procedures: A Review and Compilation of Existing Procedures, Good Practices, and Recommendations (2016). Federal Highway Administration.

Bicycle-Pedestrian Count Technology Pilot Project (2016). Federal Highway Administration.

Guidebook on Pedestrian and Bicycle Volume Data Collection (2014). NCHRP Report 797.

Active Transportation Resource Center.

Texas Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Exchange.

Bicycle & Pedestrian Count Resources. Texas Department of Transportation.