Knowing how many people use the Denton County Transportation Authority’s 19-mile A-train Rail Trail is now possible with the installation of four new automated pedestrian and bicycle counters. The agency’s rail trail counters are a part of the same system that is used by many government and transportation agencies in North Texas. With the addition of these new counters, DCTA has six total counters to track its rail trail usage.
How the Counters Work
The Eco-Counter Urban MULTI counts pedestrians and cyclists separately with a single counter. The water-proof counters use ZELT inductive loop and passive pyroelectric technology to make the distinction between the two user types.
Urban MULTI counters are optimized to count large groups of pedestrians and cyclists with high accuracy, making it ideal for high-volume multi-use paths. They are permanently installed inside a discreet metal bollard housed that blends into the surrounding natural environment. In addition, the counters can also detect direction of travel.
Rail Trail Data Captured and Next Steps
Overall, the automated counters will capture the amount of traffic and usage in certain areas of DCTA’s rail trail. This is especially helpful during this time as trail usage across the country has surged during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Below are key monthly tracking data metrics DCTA will analyze utilizing the counters:
- Number of people using the rail trail (cyclists and pedestrians)
- Areas of high traffic along the rail trail
- Where people are accessing the rail trail
“The installation of these automated rail trail counters will allow us at DCTA to better understand bicycle and pedestrian transportation trends in Denton County and surrounding areas,” Ann Boulden, DCTA Director of Capital Development said. “Capturing this rail trail data is essential to help with our goals of improving air quality and providing mobility alternatives for the many communities we serve.”
DCTA will use the data received to provide better reporting of rail trail utilization to its board of directors. In addition, the data will help the agency best determine future rail trail amenities and safety enhancements such as signage, mile markers, lighting and benches.
For more information about DCTA’s A-train Rail Trail, visit RideDCTA.net.