Case study: Monitoring National Parks with tubes
The Department of Parks and Wildlife manages over 20 million hectares of Western Australia’s land and waters. One of their purposes is the provision of a range of nature-based recreation opportunities, facilities and services while ensuring the natural environment is managed in a sustainable matter. In this regard, DPaW has developed and currently manages over 800 nature-based recreation and tourism areas around the State which attract in excess of nine million visits annually.
One of the main aims of the Department’s VISTAT (Visitor Information & Statistics) Program is to collect visitor information needed to make strategic decisions on all facets of planning, funding, developing, managing and monitoring nature-based recreation and tourism opportunities. It is imperative that this data is accurate, reliable, pertinent, current and cost effective to collect.
To this end, DPaW initially purchased 50 classifiers from MetroCount in 1999. These roadside units were distributed to all DPaW District offices through Western Australia and have been installed at the major National Parks and other highly visited recreation areas managed by the Department. DPaW has since expanded their stock of tube counters due to the overall success of the program.
Monitoring National Parks with MC5600
The main uses and benefits of the classifiers for the VISTAT Program have been:
- To determine the number and type of vehicles entering a Park or a recreation area. The class/speed matrix report is generally run on a monthly basis for all units. The total number of visitors at a certain area can then be established when these vehicle numbers are combined with an estimate of the vehicle passengers for classes 1-2 and classes 3-4.
- To determine the number of vehicles entering a Park/area within specific time periods during the day. The weekly vehicle counts or weekly vehicle counts – virtual week reports are run by Parks/areas to establish the optimum staffing requirements at entry points where visitor fees are collected.
- To determine the speed of vehicles entering a Park/area. The class/speed matrix report is run to obtain a general overview of the vehicle speeds, while the individual vehicles report can pinpoint the time of the day and class of vehicle travelling a specific speed. It is useful to know the speed at which vehicles are travelling in and out of a Park/area for visitor safety reasons, security purposes (as some areas are closed at certain times), and road maintenance requirements.
See original document sent by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, former Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM).