Bikes Count in Switzerland!
It’s not all about cars anymore. Now bikes count too! In this interview, the Swiss state of Canton Du Valais opens up about how receiving monthly cycle data has helped them plan a transport mode shift away from motorised traffic and towards active mobility.
The state installed 3 permanently embedded piezoelectric bike counters on the Route du Rhone cycleway back in 2004. Primarily a tourism and leisure route, this cycleway is important to the economic development of the region. However, implementing the bike data to guide active transport initiatives is now allowing Canton du Valais to encourage an increase in local, commuter riders too.
We spoke to Olivier Schalbetter, Traffic Engineer in the Mobility Service at Canton du Valais to find out more:
Why does Canton du Valais collect bike data along the Route du Rhone?
“We are responsible for the planning and promotion of active, pedestrian and two-wheeled mobility in the state. Understanding who and how many cyclists use the Route du Rhone allows the Mobility Service to follow the seasonal trends and annual evolution of bicycle traffic. It also allows us to better understand the habits of riders using the cycleway.
This enables us to make informed decisions about way-finding and place-making signage, measure the modal shift away from motorised traffic and ensure cycle infrastructure is maintained where routes take a public road managed by our Canton.
We make sure the cycle networks are consistent and attractive to entice riders. We’ve made a substantial effort to promote active transportation as appealing for daily trips. The road network has thus been adapted and dedicated routes have been developed.
We also work with local municipalities and promotional organisations to facilitate active transportation through financial support for daily or leisure trips. “
What benefits do you see increased bike usage bringing to your area?
“Not only does encouraging active transportation result in less congestion, less air and noise pollution and increased health benefits for our residents, but it is also beneficial to the economic development of the region. We’re making an effort to position Valais as a first-rate destination for recreational cycling (road and mountain biking) and for hiking. But we also want to incentivise locals to use the cycleway for daily use and commuting.”
Why did you choose to use a permanent automatic traffic counter instead of other methods?
“We decided to use the RidePod® BP counter in order to receive the most precise and representative information possible for the whole year. Also being able to visualise the speed parameter of bikes is interesting.
Because the counter is permanent we can visualise seasonal trends and determine if an increase in the number of users is taking place and get leads on the reasons for the increase. This makes it possible to analyse changes in user behaviour.”
What information do you mainly use from the bike counters?
“We receive data monthly and mainly focus on the number of bikes by direction, per hour. “
Who else do you share your bike data with?
“The results of the counts are also transmitted to SwitzerlandMobility, who uses them to monitor trends and growth in the usage of the national cycling network.”
It’s great to see that bikes count in Switzerland and that Canton du Valais are using a constant flow of data to improve infrastructure and promotional efforts. Well done!