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Surveying pedestrian and bicycle traffic (SVI 2001/503)

Switzerland Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

Basic data applicable for practicable planning as well as transport and scientific purposes are lacking in the areas of pedestrian and cycle traffic. Information on pedestrian and cycle trends would assist in the planning of facilities and the assessment of the degree of success of initiated measures and would be of considerable significance in the promotion of public awareness for these forms of mobility.


The presented research project has as its objective a compilation of recommendations for the conception, execution and evaluation of studies on pedestrian and cycle traffic.

Both the state of knowledge of current survey methods as well as available instruments and technical aids form the basis for evaluation. Within the framework of the research work, special large-scale pilot studies were carried out in collaboration with numerous towns and districts. Results and observations resulting from the pilot studies in Zurich, Chur, Uster, Riehen, Mendrisio and Rotkreuz were directly incorporated within the recommendations.


Survey methods including census counts, observations and questionnaires together with methods for assessing parked bicycles were assessed and evaluated.

Beside these methods, the technical aids have been described and evaluated in terms of their potential application in pedestrian and cycle traffic surveys. The palette ranges from simple checklists and hand-held counters to automatic counting devices and radar, video and laser equipment. 


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Private foundation
Institution Name
Association of Transportation Engineers
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The research work contains summarised recommendations for surveys  conceived as a short guide for the carrying out of pedestrian and cycle traffic surveys. The recommendations contain cross-references to the methodological components of the research work, where the relevant themes are dealt with in depth.

Specific references are made to the following questions and themes:

  • Survey purpose and task definition in terms of pre-clarification
  • Demands on the results considering accuracy and comparability
  • Consideration of relevant influencing factors
  • Suitability of survey methods relative to aim
  • Synopsis of suitability of technical aids and instruments
  • Establishment of survey locations and specific survey spots
  • Suitable times for surveys (season, time of week and day) and reasonable duration of survey, particularly for practical extrapolation
  • Organisation of surveys (preparation, execution, documentation)
  • Estimation of costs of survey and evaluation

In order that the recommendations may serve as guidelines for the carrying out of pedestrian and cycle traffic surveys throughout Switzerland, they were translated into French and Italian using funds provided by the Swiss Federal Highways Department (Bundesamt für Strassen).

Suggestions on statistics and future research

It was  recommended to create a network of pedestrian and cycle traffic observation points throughout Switzerland, particularly in highly frequented locations such as centres and public transport nodal points etc. Available standards dealing with traffic surveys should incorporate standardised average values for pedestrian and cycle traffic in order to facilitate comparability of data.

In spite of comprehensive  surveys the extrapolation factors of the presented work still suffer from a lack of available data, suggesting a need for further surveys or research. Only a substantial database will create greater accuracy of output and permit comparative assessments between various regions in Switzerland.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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