Two bike counters installed on the Tempe campus have been tracking bicyclists since the first week of January. And on Sunday, April 15, the counter at Apache Boulevard and College Avenue reached a new milestone: 100,000 incoming riders.
The counters, installed by the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning in collaboration with ASU Parking and Transit Services, are the university’s first effort to obtain continuous data on the number of bicyclists on the Tempe campus.
“It’s really hard for ASU to know how many people bike; every time they stick in bike parking, it fills up right away and it’s difficult to know how to provide for the number of cyclists that are coming here,” said Trisalyn Nelson, director at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.
“We’re super excited to now — for the first time ever — have continuous data on how many people are riding into campus,” Nelson said.
The counter at Apache and College tracks incoming cyclists only, while the one at Forest Avenue and University Drive counts incoming and outgoing.
While still in the beginning stages of tracking, Nelson said they’re already getting useful data.
“This semester, Tuesday, Feb. 6 was the busiest day for bikes on campus. Coming in on College past Apache, there were 1,492 cyclists that day. So that’s pretty cool to be able to have that information,” she said.
According to Nelson, the cyclists counted in the past four months have helped to reduce carbon emissions by about 729,000 pounds, or 301 metric tons.
University travel surveys have shown that about 17 percent of the Tempe campus population bikes to work or school, and that number continues to increase each year.
“We think it’s because of the land use changes that are going on,” Nelson said. “A lot of student housing development has gone in. It’s relatively close to campus which makes it more accessible for people to bike and walk.”
Next fall, the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning will offer a class in combination with Parking and Transit Services to help answer how ASU can better support bicyclists.
"Parking and Transit have a bunch of questions they need answered and the students will be working on projects to answer those questions to help them get a better sense of what’s happening with bicycling on campus and how we can continue to support it,” she said.
“It’s really good for the university to get people out of their cars; partly because of parking, but there’s also a lot of physical and mental health benefits to riding your bike.”