Safe Transportation Research & Education Center
Pedestrian Counting Methods at Intersections: a Comparative Study
- Author(s): Diogenes, Mara Chagas
- Greene-Roesel, Ryan
- Arnold, Lindsay S.
- Ragland, David R.
- et al.
Resources for implementing countermeasures to reduce pedestrian collisions in urban centers are usually allocated on the basis of need, which is determined by risk studies. They commonly rely on pedestrian volumes at intersections. The methods used to estimate pedestrian volumes include direct counts and surveys, but few studies have addressed the accuracy of these methods. This paper investigates the accuracy of three common counting methods: manual counts using sheets, manual counts using clickers, and manual counts using video cameras. The counts took place in San Francisco. For the analysis, the video image counts, with recordings made at the same time as the clicker and sheet counts, were assumed to represent actual pedestrian volume. The results indicate that manual counts with either sheets or clickers systematically underestimated pedestrian volumes. The error rates range from 8-25%. Additionally, the error rate was greater at the beginning and end of the observation period, possibly resulting from the observer’s lack of familiarity with the tasks or fatigue.