Thursday, June 6, 2013

How do you get around Somerville?

The City of Somerville works to encourage active transportation for many reasons: encouraging better health, decreasing emissions, and cutting down traffic congestion...  Biking, walking, and transit ridership is at an all-time high throughout the Boston metro area.  But where are bikes and pedestrians most often in Somerville specifically? Where are they going, and where have they increased or decreased the most? Tracking this data helps us make better and more informed decisions about policies and projects.

Each year the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development organizes bike and pedestrian counts at 36 locations around the city. Volunteers counted cyclists, pedestrians, and a few joggers during two rush hour periods (7:15-8:45am and 4:45-6:15pm).  The counters count in 15 minute increments and keep track of movements at each intersection (see diagram), so planners have even more data to work with and can understand how people are moving around Somerville.


These snapshot counts help planners understand current trends – including heavy traffic areas, light traffic areas, and areas of significant change.  Planners can also use these numbers to shape future decisions or evaluate past decisions. For example, an increase in traffic on a recently reconstructed road helps support the idea that the road needed repair.

Stay tuned for posts over the next week with data on both cyclists and pedestrians.




1 comment:

  1. Although Beacon St is the most direct path for me from work to home on bike, the rough pavement and number of summer cyclists and drivers has reached a tipping point. Now, I would much rather take the smooth new pavement and bike lane on Somerville Ave.

    Looking forward to a resurfaced Beacon Street.

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