Portland Bike/Ped Counts

The next round of Counts will take place from Sept 12th through Sept 19th, 2015. Click here to volunteer now!

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine works with the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) to conduct regular bicycle and pedestrian user counts at key locations in the region at specific times of the day and year.   This site is intended to provide information on the count method, locations and how to sign up, as well as links to key forms and documents needed.

The goal of this project is to understand regional cyclist and pedestrian behavior, whether for commuting, recreation, or exercise. The data we collect as part of this project is the only consistent, uniform data set and analysis system for these types of modes. Counts happen three times a year – in May, September, and January.

This data will:

  • Track changes in mode share for walking and bicycling
  • Justify funding for biking and walking infrastructure projects
  • Allow planning and municipal agencies to better coordinate their work
  • Inform efforts to manage and mitigate traffic congestion

Please Contact the Bicycle Coalition of Maine with any questions. advocacy@bikemaine.org or 207-956-6538.

When and Where

  • We conduct counts 3 times a year–in January, May and September.
  • Counts are conducted on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 4-6 pm and on the Saturday preceding or following the midweek count from 12-2pm.
  • The times selected, 12-2pm on Saturday and 4-6pm on weekdays, are meant to capture peak traffic.
  • Locations: The following key criteria were considered when Count locations were chosen: historical count location, relative level of bike/ped activity, key regional corridor, access point for path or park, on-street bike facilities, employment or mixed-use area, nearby transit, stakeholder recommendation, year-round activity (for winter count locations).

How to Count

Counting is simple.  A counter sets up at their assigned count location and counts every bicyclist or walker that crosses an imaginary line (called a “cordon line”) drawn across a street or path.  We track gender, helmet use, and whether the rider is operating with or against traffic.   An “Other” category lets you record roadway users like skateboarders, roller bladers, or any group you’re not quite sure about.  Click here for the Count Instruction form.

Both forms are broken into fifteen-minute blocks during which you count every person who crosses the cordon line at the count location.  Every fifteen minutes for two hours, you move to the next block on the page and record your observations. At the end of the two-hour count period, you tally up your totals and enter it using the online data form.

Count information is captured in the field using either a Road or a Trail form.  Your location assignment will specify which form you’ll need to use.  Generally the Trail form is used only for counting on multi-use paths.

The goal of the counts is to capture the overall volume of bicyclists and pedestrians in each location. These volumes can be compared across the seasons and years in which the counts are held. The PACTS counts use a methodology that was developed by Alta Design and Planning, an internationally recognized expert firm on bicycle and pedestrian issues, plans and facilities design.  This project is aligned with the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. You can download the Alta Count Methodology document HERE.

Send In Your Data

After you’ve finished your count, you need to send us the data.

  • Click here to input count data from Saturday Sept 12th or Saturday Sept 19th, 2015
  • Click here to input count data from Tuesday Sept 15th, Wednesday Sept 16th, or Thursday Sept 17th, 2015.
  • Using the online forms:
    • At the bottom of each of spreadsheet is a separate tab for each location.
    • Once you click the link you must find the tab that corresponds to your location before you enter in the data.
    • Each assigned location has a corresponding number. You can find this number in the email that was sent to you with your location and date assignment.
    • As we refine the electronic entry form, we are still collecting hard copies of the count forms.  Please also copy and return your forms as soon as possible.
    • Send by fax to 207-956-6545. Scan/email to advocacy@bikemaine.org. Or mail to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, PO Box 15272, Portland ME, 04101

Map of Count Locations

View PACTS Count Locations Fall 2014 in a larger map

Sign Up Here

Volunteer to Collect Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts, Click here to volunteer now!

Counting only takes about two hours, and it is easy, entertaining, and helpful!  No training or experience is necessary to sign up.

Once you sign up, you’ll receive an email with your count location and date assignment.

Forms & Documents

  • Click HERE for Count Day Instructions. Please print and review these instructions before going to the count or survey site.
  • Click here for a roadway count form.
  • Click here for a trail count form.
  • Click here for the ALTA methodology document.
  • Click here for a PowerPoint training document.


Here is the data that has been collected so far: