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Traffic Technology solves Bristol's cycle-monitoring problem

Traffic Technology Limited has revealed details relating to a recent traffic-counting project in Bristol, UK, in which a new bicycle counter has been installed for Bristol City Council.

As the UK’s first ‘Cycling City’, Bristol aims to double the number of cyclists in the metropolitan area through better infrastructure, training and promotion. The proposed location for the counter was an old disused iron railway bridge, Ashton Bridge, at which two previous counter installations had proved unsuccessful. Traffic Technology made an initial site assessment and decided to install the Eco-Multi combined cycle/pedestrian counter on the chosen site.

Left: The Ashton Bridge once had a top deck that carried road traffic, and was one of the main road routes into Bristol city center from the south. The bottom deck was built for rail traffic, but is now used by pedestrians only

One of the ZELT range of cycle detectors was selected for the task. Originally developed, tested and patterned by the CETE Sud Ouest le CETE du Sud-Ouest organization in France, the ZELT (zone expérimentale laboratoire trafic), an inductive loop sensor is at the heart of the invisible system, which is able to count bikes in mixed vehicular traffic with an accuracy of ±5%. The specially shaped inductive loop is professionally installed at the agreed monitoring point. As each bicycle passes over the loop, it detects the unique two-wheel electromagnetic signature of a bicycle and records the event, while all other electromagnetic signals are ignored. A single inductive loop can be between 1.1m and 1.75m wide, and an additional four loops can be connected individually to give either wider carriageway widths or for directional discrimination. Unlike other systems restricted by their maximum 2.5m loop width, the ZELT Cycle loop can give the required 3m coverage need for standard cycle path locations. The installed system uses the battery-operated Eco-Multi, which contains two sensors – one specially designed to capture the unique magnetic signature generated by cycles and the other to monitor pedestrians.

“As part of our Cycling City responsibilities, we have to establish whether cycle route projects in the City are bringing about increased numbers of cyclists,” explains Mike Sweet, Bristol’s manager of transport studies and monitoring. “Not only is the counter completely unobtrusive, it clearly distinguishes between pedestrians and cyclists and provides reliable counts of numbers of both using the route.”

“The Eco-Multi is unique in that it consistently distinguishes between pedestrians and cycles, and we’re delighted to be involved with such an eco-friendly project, designed to reduce traffic congestion and increase road safety in Bristol City,” concluded Richard Toomey, managing director of Traffic Technology Limited.
 

November 5, 2009

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