This March, the public finally got access to summary data from the 5 automatic cycle counters Auckland Transport has had running for somewhat over a year on a variety of off-road cycleways around Auckland. And the trend is good.
While 15 months of data means we only have 3 months for which we can already compare the data of this year with that of the year before, the average combined cycle count at those 5 counters, in those three months, was ~27,000/month. That is a whopping 41% increase over the ~19,100/month recorded in the same period just one year before. Looking at January alone, the increase is even larger, about 60% over the year before. See graph at right (click through twice).
Now there’s a few caveats to that data. Mainly, while we very much hope these counts are representative of an overall trend (up! the only way is up!), the five count sites by nature cannot be but somewhat selective – much of Auckland doesn’t have good off-road paths yet, and thus most cycling happens on-road, not captured by the counters. Some of the count sites are also not on our busiest cycle routes – the Kingsland counter certainly is, the Twin Streams path counter probably could also come in among the busier ones, but the counter on Highbrook Drive Path? A path that is nice enough, but which doesn’t really lead anywhere at this stage…
It will be interesting what the numbers say once further counters Auckland Transport are developing become “live” – such as two proposed for Tamaki Drive, and one for Lake Road, as well as one for Cavendish Drive in Manukau. AT is also intending to potentially in the future publish the counter data online so that it is dynamically updated. Now that would be pretty awesome. It is also already quite interesting to finally have a bit of a graph over the year, showing the (not too surprising) dip in the winter (maybe 35% less than in the summer at worst, not too bad) and the December dip, which also occurs in public transport.
So what is the verdict? Well – cautious celebration of course! The numbers match what we are seeing outside: Lots of new cyclists are on the road. So lets all get on our bikes and make sure the trend for next years stays as positive.