Active Transportation Benchmarking Program

The Active Transportation Benchmarking program collects pedestrian and cycling (active transportation) activity throughout the City along sidewalks, trails, and on-road bicycle routes. Automatic counters monitor active transportation 24 hours a day at various locations for one-week durations. 

What is the data used for?

Data on usage and demand is essential to:

  • build long-term support for walking and cycling
  • improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists
  • contribute to City processes including designing lighting levels, maintenance programs, planning and design studies

Counter types

Hamilton currently uses four different types of automatic counters: 

  • Pyro-Box
  • Eco-Combo
  • pneumatic tube sensors
  • inductive loops

For more information on how these counters work visit www.eco-counter.ca.

Hamilton Pedestrian & Cyclists Counts

Hamilton Pedestrian and Cyclists Counts using EcoCounterVisit www.eco-public.com to see Hamilton's Counts

  • Temporary trail counts are currently rotated from location-to-location on a weekly basis.
  • Permanent counters are located in the following locations:
    • King Street West and Highway 403 (bicycle-specific counter)
    • Cannon Street Cycle Track (bicycle-specific counter)
    • Waterfront Trail near Bayfront Park (bicycle/pedestrian combination counter)
    • Chedoke Stairs (activity counter)
    • Dundurn Street Stairs (activity counter)
    • James Street Stairs (activity counter)
    • Wentworth Street Stairs (activity counter)
    • Kimberly Street Stairs (activity counter)
    • Gage Park BMX Pump Track (bicycle-specific counter)
    • Red Hill Valley Trail - QEW Bridge (activity counter)
    • Red Hill Valley Trail - Greenhill Avenue (activity counter)
    • Arbour Street Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge (activity counter)
    • LINC Pedestrian/Bicycle Overpass (activity counter)
    • LINC Pedestrian/Bicycle Underpass (activity counter)
    • Highway 403 Pedestrian/Bicycle Overpass – Chedoke/Bruce Trail (activity counter)
    • Highway 403 Pedestrian/Bicycle Overpass – Hamilton-Brantford Trail (activity counter)
    • Coming soon (Spring/Summer 2017):
      • Waterfront Trail – Van Wagner’s Beach Road (bicycle/pedestrian combination counter)
      • Bay Street North (bicycle-specific counter)

Location of current counters

Summary of general findings

The summaries provide a progress report on the program for each year, including a high level overview of data collected.

Off-road facilities

Includes: multi-use trails, footpaths, sidewalks, alleyway,stairs, etc.

General findings

  • 300,000+ trips were measured at 63 locations
  • Portion of trips are shifting away from weekend to weekdays
  • Average daily volume is 352 trips

Top 5 locations (based on “peak week” data)

  • Cootes Drive Trail (near Sanders Blvd/Norfolk Dr.) - 27,588 trips
  • Chedoke Stairs - 14,941 trips
  • QEW Lakeview Pool - 12,507 trips
  • Wentworth Stairs - 7,137 trips
  • Dejardins Trail (Princess Point) - 6,670 trips

Seasonal trends

  • Almost 1/3 of trips occurred during fall season
  • Distribution of activity during summer and spring season was less than previous years
  • Activity in winter season closely resembled the results in year 1 of the program (twice as high as years 2 and 3)
    • 3 factors for change: data collected at various locations varies, less precipitation with warmer temperatures and maintenance level of service for facilities varies from location to location

Data collection locations

  • Data for 146 off-road locations have been recorded since the program started.
    • At 46 of these locations, data was collected during consecutive fall, winter, spring and summer to identify seasonal trends. This seasonal data provides insight into individual locations and other characteristics that may not be reflected in City-wide seasonal averages.
    • By the end of year 5, we are anticipating that there will be approximately 70 locations with seasonal data.

On-road facilities

Includes: bike lanes, signed bike routes, cycled tracks, etc.

General findings

  • 35,000 trips were measured at 13 locations
  • Based on locations with 7-day counts, the daily cycling patterns indicate higher activity levels during weekdays than weekends.
  • Average daily volume is 217 trips - inclusive of multiple counts along Cannon Street Corridor

Top location (based on “peak week” data)

  • Cannon Street (West of Chestnut) - 4,033 trips
  • York Boulevard (West of MacNab) - 2,593 trips
  • Stinson Street (East of Victoria) - 999 trips

Multiple counts were conducted on the Cannon Street corridor to monitor usage of the cycle-track, which was implemented fall 2014. View an illustration of the findings of these counts. (PDF, 190 KB)

Hunter Street/bi-directional bicycle lanes

  • Hunter Street, between Queen Street and Liberty Street, was identified as a cycling corridor in the City’s Cycling Master Plan
  • Cycling counts were conducted in order to measure before and after usage. A control location was used in order to identify any seasonal variation.
  • Cycling activity is higher during the weekday than on the weekend. Suggests that activity use is for more commuting/utilitarian purposes.
  • Majority of cycling trips are travelling 60% or higher in the westbound direction.

Permanent counting locations

  • The addition of permanent off-road and on-road count locations will:
    • assist in creating control locations for both facility types
    • eliminate the current gap in data collection and analysis relating to on-road cycling seasonal activity trends
  • Council approved to further expand an integrated data collection by adding 4 permanent counting locations. Locations will include:
    • on-road bicycle specific counters using inductive loops
    • Multi-use Trail that will collect and distinguish between both pedestrian and cyclist users
  • Permanent count location was installed as part of the monitoring program for Gage Park BMX Pump Track pilot project.

Next steps

  • Continue to collect data to improve planning for active transportation
  • Incorporate bicycle data made available through the Bike Share Program
  • Install permanent counting devices at strategic locations in 2015
  • Expand program through the coordination of automated intersection movement counts led by the Traffic Operations Section of Public Works
  • Explore revenue generating opportunities of non-City active transportation facilities

View the information update to Council (PDF,483 KB)
View the Hunter Street bi-directional bike lane monitoring information update to Council (PDF, 2 KB)

Off-road facilities

Includes: multi-use trails, footpaths, sidewalks, alleyway,stairs, etc.

General findings

  • 360,000+ trips were measured at 67 locations
  • Sunday consistently observed as the peak day for activity over the three years.
  • Relatively stable pattern throughout the week.
  • Average daily volume is 400 trips

Top 5 locations (based on “peak week” data)

  • Chedoke Stairs - 24,453 trips
  • Dundurn Stairs - 13,253 trips
  • Waterfront Trail (Confederation Park - Lakeland Pool) - 12,905 trips
  • Waterfront Trail (Bayfront Park) - 12,884 trips
  • Cootes Drive (near Sanders Blvd/Norfolk Dr.) - 8,315 trips

Seasonal trends

  • 64% of all trips occurred during summer and spring seasons.
  • Patterns indicate that summer activity has remained relatively consistent over the past three years.
  • Winter activity trips has continued to decline over the past 3 years.
  • Past two years observed significantly different patterns than the first year of the program.

On-road facilities

Includes: bike lanes, signed bike routes, segregated facilities, etc.

General findings

  • 6,500+ trips were measured at 12 locations
  • Based on locations with 7-day counts, the daily cycling patterns indicate higher activity levels during weekdays than weekends.
  • Average daily volume is 112 trips.

Top location (based on “peak week” data)

  • King Street W. (Highway 403 Crossing) - 3,113 trips

Yearly notes

  • Counting devices were subject to incidences of theft, which has been disruptive to the program. Measures to mitigate these incidences are being undertaken.
  • The program reached a milestone by recording its’ one-millionth trip during summer of 2014.

View the information update to Council (PDF,483 KB)

General findings

  • 340,000+ trips were measured at 59 trail locations.
  • Daily activity patterns were consistent with year 1 findings.
  • Count locations: 
    • paved/unpaved multi-use recreational trails
    • pedestrian/cyclist overpasses/underpasses
    • stairs

Top 5 locations (based on “peak week” data)

  • Chedoke Stairs - 23,644 trips
  • Waterfront Trail (Bayfront Park) - 15,290 trips
  • Waterfront Trail (Confederation Park - Lakeland Pool) - 14,366 trips
  • Dundurn Stairs - 12,119 trips
  • Desjardin Trail (Princess Point) - 11,120 trips
  • Average daily volume for multi-use recreational trails, pedestrian/cyclist overpasses and underpasses, and stairs (excluding on-road bicycle routes) is 469 trips
  • 9,000+ trips were measured at 18 on-road bicycle route locations

Seasonal trends

  • 70% of all trips occur during summer and spring seasons. An increase from year 1 of the program.
  • Winter activity levels were reduced by approximately 1/2 as compared with year 1 activity levels.

Yearly notes

  • No on-road bicycle data was included in general findings due to vandalism and damage.
  • Investigation into other technology types was on-going to address this concern.
  • Data collected from sidewalks and alleyways was also excluded as these numbers were project-specific and represent a very low sample size.

View the information update to Council (PDF, 350 KB)

General findings

  • 315,000+ trips have been measured at 35 locations.
  • Collected data at 9 of 35 locations during Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer to identify seasonal trends.
  • High activity levels on Sundays and statutory holiday Mondays.
  • Weekday patterns are consistent (excluding Monday).
  • Count locations: 
    • paved/unpaved multi-use recreational trails
    • pedestrian/cyclist overpasses/underpasses
    • stairs
    • bike lanes
  • Counts include daily activity along trails and special events such as the Hamilton Marathon, Fit 4 Female Grey Cup Race, Open Streets Hamilton, and the Hanukkah Hustle.

Top 5 locations (based on “peak” week data)

  • Chedoke Stairs (Appendix B)
  • Waterfront Trail (Lakeland Pool – Confederation Park)
  • Kimberly Stairs
  • Waterfront Trail (Bayfront Park)
  • Desjardin Trail (Princess Point)

Seasonal trends

  • 60% of all trips occur during summer and spring seasons.
  • Twice as many trips occur in summer compared to winter.
  • Fall and spring trip activity is comparable.
  • Cooler temperatures did not have as much of an impact on activity as precipitation.
  • Weather patterns such as extreme heat and precipitation had a noticeable impact of travel patterns.

Yearly notes

  • 514+ count days for the pilot.
  • 12 out of the 15 Wards were included (approximately 80%).

View the information update to Council (PDF, 128 KB)

Count data summary

Contact us

Transportation Management
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 6600
Email: tplanning@hamilton.ca