Bicycle Network: Measure & Understand
Count results from Melbourne &Victoria
Here are some data summaries from Melbourne and Victoria
Busiest little bike lane in Melbourne
One thin lane outperforms two wide lanes.
Mar 08 Data collected in the 7-9am peak 26 February 2008 counted the motor vehicles and bicycles crossing
- 38% were bike riders – around 1 000 riders
- 62% were motor vehicles.
In other words the bike lane, thin as it is, is carrying more people than either of the two motor vehicle lanes.
The 2008 Super Tuesday count has revealed 879 more riders entering the CBD between 0700 and 0900hrs.
Each face of CBD showed an increase in riders
- West 39%
- North 31%
- East 17%
- South 15%
This reinforces our view which we put to the Premier at the congestion meeting in January 2008 that it is possible to treat congestion by encouraging bike riding, in particular, to work in the CBD.
Swanston St has become Melbourne's cycling spine, providing good access into the CBD and also providing a through route to popular destinations like St Kilda Rd precinct to the south and RMIT and Melbourne University to the north.
Recently the boom in cycling has been clearly illustrated by rider numbers along Swanston St. Refer to our Chart of Swanston St growth 92-07.
The increase has been recorded across the inner network. Refer to our recent Super Tuesday counts.
Loop Counters on Off-road Path Network
In November 2005 VicRoads installed 17 permanent inductive loop counters on the off-road path network around Melbourne. These counters count bicycle volumes 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
The Metropolitan Trail induction loops have now been operating for 11 months and the numbers are telling some consistent scenarios. The figures show that:
- Weekday and weekend numbers follow clearly identifiable patterns across the network
- 61% of path users are commuters
- The daily peaks and troughs in usage are consistent across the inner metropolitan area. The commuter/recreational ratio does adjust the further out the locations are.
There is also another very interesting aspect that has been revealed by comparing the path usage against the weather patterns. This analysis shows:
- On wet or bad weather days recreational use of the path network
will drop by 70%
- On these same occasions only 5% of commuters will not ride!
These results are further proof that riding a bike is a viable form of transport and that bad weather does not stop people from choosing to commute by bike.
For data from these sites please see: VicRoads path statistics
For the location of the loop counters see: Map of Loop Counters [PDF, 103 kb]
No loops in your area?
These counters are relatively inexpensive especially when you consider they work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year. You can speak to Tony Barton, Manager - VicRoads Bicycle Program, about getting one (or more!) of these in your area to do all the hard work for you.
Rail trail use continues to rise
A number of rail trails conducted user counts over the easter period. The first results to be published are from the Murray to Mountains rail trail. As expected, the number of riders continues to climb. The counts showed that:
- Use between Everton and Beechworth increased by 25%, compared to the last year
- Since last year, total use has increased by 4.5%
- Total counts over the weekend are over 8,300.
Click on the email me updates link to the side of this page to be alerted to new data as it becomes available.
New count data across Melbourne
VicRoads has installed over 15 magnetic induction-loop counters across the bicycle trail network in Melbourne. These counters automatically log data 24 hours a day. This data is available in full on the VicRoads website.
Results from the first three months of observations will be available soon. In the meantime you can read the Sunday Age article about the new counters.
Preliminary results show:
- Main commuter routes in Melbourne are used by between 2,000 and 4,000 cyclists per day
- The morning peak on the Main Yarra Trail at Morrell Bridge sees a cyclist every 8 seconds on the north bank and every 27 seconds on the south bank
- Most trails have more commuting cyclists during the week than recreational cyclists on weekends.
These results are very significant for transport planning in Victoria. They suggest that cycling is an important transport mode and that good quality cycling facilties will be used by thousands of cyclists.
Bicycle Network Victoria annual counts
Bicycle Network Victoria does a yearly count of the number of cyclists travelling into Melbourne CBD.
Our data shows that more bike facilities encourage more cycling and that bike lanes encourage cycling and make cycling safer. See four charts (right).
More bike lanes and paths lead to increased cycling
Cycling numbers have increased an avergae of 5 per cent a year for the last five years, as more bike lanes and path go in around the CBD.
The benefits are: a healthier population, less congestion, decreased greenhouse gas emissions than otherwise and more smiling, healthy people being more productive at work while taking up less road space.
Melbourne CBD has some of the most popular cycling streets and shared paths in Australia. There are about 12,000 cycle trips into and out of Melbourne's CBD each weekday, despite the lack of any marked bicycle facilities into and through the CBD itself.
Swanston Street and St Kilda Rd carry over 2,000 cyclists each weekday. The St Kilda Rd lanes extend 9km out of the city in a continuous lane. The Main Yarra Trail carries over 2,500 cyclists every weekday and more on sunny weekends.
Meanwhile Beach Rd, Australia's premier cycling training route, carries more than 7,000 cyclists each weekend. Many ride singularly or in groups of up to five or six, although there are also packs that number over 150 riders. Before 10.30am each weekend there are more bicycles than motor vehicles passing Black Rock on Beach Rd.
Unfortunately, the story is not so rosy in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Here, most cycling used to be to schools and shops, but it is nearly non-existent now as wide busy roads and few bicycle lanes and shared paths are a discouraging environment for cycling.
The Victorian Activity Travel Survey data shows that in 1996 about 2 per cent of trips were made by bikes. This has dropped since to about 1 per cent. There is more cycling in the inner city but this is more than compensated for by less cycling, mostly by children, in the outer suburbs.
We do not have good data on regional Victoria, but anecdotally it seems that there is more cycling to school in regional towns, less commuter cycling and the same level of recreational and training cycling.
Places like Shepparton, Wangaratta and Ballarat have a higher level of cycling that matches their committment to building bike lanes and paths.
Counts done on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail on Easter Saturday 2003 recorded over 1,200 users coming to and from Bright on that day.
If you'd like to help with our counts, please email us at email@example.com or see our webpage on counting.