This spring our Metropolitan Planning Organization, SKATS, will survey 1800 households in an effort to sample accurately and then model equally accurately regional travel patterns. Participants will be asked to keep a diary of daily travel outside the home.
It's time to update the data!
According to Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study,
The last Travel and Activity Survey conducted in the SKATS area was in 1994...the data is over a decade old. Many people question the relevance of the responses in light of changes in land use, demographics, and the transportation system (road and transit), as well as external factors such as increasing gasoline prices.The survey and resulting data are important because they are the "base for the travel demand models used by SKATS...." In other words, when planners talk about the need for a new highway bridge across the Willamette, or for other large road projects, they are using 15 year old data. In 1994 gas was $1.25 a gallon.
Unfortunately, bicyclists will be underreported. In both Salem and Portland, March bicycle counts have been about half of summer counts. There's a clear seasonality to bicycle traffic patterns.
There's also an ebb-and-flow (and not just stop-n-go!) to motor vehicle traffic. Road planners typically build roads for rush hour ("peak volume") traffic calculations, and bicycle planning should be no different. If we build roads for peak rush hour auto traffic, we should also plan bike facilities for peak summer bicycling volumes. Bicyclists should not apologize for counting peak bike traffic!
The survey will be conducted by a third party contractor. If you are contacted by NuStats or PTV, and are interested in participating in the survey, please be sure to report your bicycling activity! Your use of transit is also important to note!
The survey will be used for the next decade or so in traffic planning, and the better the data now, the better the decision-making will be.
For more information on the Oregon counts, here's the OTAS Portal.