Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 19

. . . . . . . . . .

Rohan Svig 10 Peel Centre Drive Brampton, ON L6T 4B9 (905) 791-7800

Region of Peel

An Analysis of the Cordon Count Program: . . . . . . . Planning for the Future


An in-depth look at the current Cordon Count Program and what should be done in the immediate future.

Region of Peel

1 2

INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................ 3 MANUAL COUNT ............................................................................................................................... 4 2.1 ADVANTAGES..................................................................................................................................... 4 2.1.1 Detect Various Types of Bus ................................................................................................... 4 2.1.2 Capture Occupancy ................................................................................................................ 4 2.2 DISADVANTAGES ................................................................................................................................ 5 2.2.1 Station Problems .................................................................................................................... 5 2.2.2 Lack of Flexibility ................................................................................................................... 5 2.2.3 Timeframe .............................................................................................................................. 6 2.2.4 Human Error .......................................................................................................................... 6 2.2.5 Equipment Malfunction ......................................................................................................... 6

AUTOMATIC TRAFFIC RECORDERS [ATRS] ............................................................................ 6 3.1 ATR ADVANTAGES............................................................................................................................. 6 3.1.1 Consistency and Accuracy ...................................................................................................... 7 3.1.2 Accessibility ............................................................................................................................ 7 3.1.3 Depth of Information ............................................................................................................. 7 3.1.4 Quantity of Data ..................................................................................................................... 7 3.2 ATR DISADVANTAGES ........................................................................................................................ 8 3.2.1 Cannot Gather Auto Occupancy ............................................................................................. 8 3.2.2 Cost ......................................................................................................................................... 8 3.2.3 Vulnerable to Weather ........................................................................................................... 8 3.3 TYPES OF ATRS ................................................................................................................................. 8 3.3.1 Road Tubes ............................................................................................................................. 8 3.3.2 Device Installed Close to the Roadway .................................................................................. 9

RECOMMENDATIONS .................................................................................................................... 11 4.1 PURCHASING THE EQUIPMENT .......................................................................................................... 11 4.1.1 Process .................................................................................................................................. 12 4.1.2 Benefits ................................................................................................................................. 12 4.2 CONTRACTING OUT THE ATR ........................................................................................................... 13 4.2.1 Process .................................................................................................................................. 13 4.2.2 Benefits ................................................................................................................................. 13 4.3 PREFERRED OPTION......................................................................................................................... 14

5 6

CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................... 14 APPENDIXES ..................................................................................................................................... 15 6.1 6.2 APPENDIX A .................................................................................................................................. 15 APPENDIX B ................................................................................................................................... 18

7 WORKS CITED ......................................................................................................................................... 19

Region of Peel

1 Introduction
The Cordon Count program has been an important survey since its inception in Toronto in 1975, providing key insight into how the transportation system is utilized throughout the day. It was first launched at the Region of Peel in 1981. A full count coincides with the Census survey, which is every five years, with a partial count every two to three years. The count starts in late April and ends midJune with applicable recounts occurring in September. Counts commence from Monday to Thursday, 5:30am to 8:30pm. The manual count involves the recording of vehicle counts, bike counts, occupancy and vehicle classifications that cross certain stations that are located across the region. These stations are usually located near major intersections or rail lines. The data collected is then coordinated with the other regions in the Greater Toronto Area [GTA] to jointly come up with consistent daily movement data. The Data Management Group [DMG] manages the data inputted from the various regions to help facilitate the collaboration of information. This helps immensely because it shows the amount of traffic that moves between regions which in turns can foster better transportation connections. There are numerous benefits in conducting a Cordon Count program but the main objective is to help shape the transportation policy and capital plans. More specifically, the Cordon Count program helps: Conduct environmental assessments for road widening; Monitor the success of TDM initiatives; Input data into the Regions travel demand forecasting model; Highlight changing travel trends Update the long range transportation plan that feeds into the official plan, and Support planning initiatives like the Caledon Transportation Needs Study and Peels active transportation plan. Throughout the life of the Cordon Count program, issues have come to light in regards to the manual counting stations, which has helped make a case for Automatic Traffic Recorders (ATR). Due to technological advances, the Region is now in a position to explore its options. This report will help shed some light on both systems to help determine which one would be better moving forward as well as offering up some suggestions for the future.

Region of Peel

2 Manual Count
The manual counting process is the proven, albeit only well known method for collecting a wide array of data on traffic within the Region of Peel. The manual count consists of choosing stations, outlining a schedule to do the count and lastly, recording of vehicle counts, bike counts, occupancy and vehicle classifications. Currently, the Region of Peel contracts out the Cordon Count to a consulting firm. The consulting firm then hires temporary employees to record the applicable data that cross the station. Since the Region of Peel chooses to verify that the consulting firm is doing its job, which most regions do not do, a field worker must go out to the respective stations and conclude that the counts are statistically sound. Most times, the field worker will visit a third of the stations being counted that day. As with any form of data collection, it has its benefits and drawbacks which are highlighted in the next section.

2.1 Advantages
The manual count has a limited amount of benefits but nonetheless provides the data needed for the Region of Peel. Listed below are the advantages of the manual count.

2.1.1 Detect Various Types of Bus


A benefit of doing the manual count is it allows us to document the amount of buses running through a certain area, but also pinpoints what system that bus is coming from. With the increasingly wide array of bus systems near the Region of Peel [i.e. Viva, TTC, MiWay, Brampton Transit] it becomes important to see the level of infiltration these systems have in certain areas.

2.1.2 Capture Occupancy


Capturing auto occupancy is critical especially when there is a huge push from all levels of government to carpool. Keeping with the manual count will help keep track of the progress from single-occupancy to multi-occupancy vehicles. In combination with counting the bus types, the manual count allows the Region of Peel to see how many people are coming in from various areas using public transit.

Region of Peel

2.2 Disadvantages
The manual count became an outdated way of counting traffic almost as soon as Automatic Traffic Recorders [ATRs] were introduced yet the Region of Peel still goes this route. Due to this there are many problems associated with it.

2.2.1 Station Problems


Due to the Region of Peels limited resources, it is virtually impossible to monitor all of the stations and their respective counters. With only selective monitoring going on, there have been issues with the stations this year that include the following: Counters not present Significant delays in receiving data Poor vantage point of the road Counters move to a restaurant, such as Tim Hortons, instead of being closer to the road Counters distracted by modern technology such as cellphones and laptops Misunderstanding of the classifications of vehicles Interruptions whilst counting data, such as a passer-by questioning your presence Occupancy is not always collected accurately due to tinted windows & high speeds

In an extreme case the following happened: A counter pulled up, got out of the car, then left Station was left unattended

No matter what the reason, these problems prove to be a vast challenge for the Region of Peel when trying to manage the program even though the work is contracted out.

2.2.2 Lack of Flexibility


There are many factors that influence the traffic patterns for the day including work stoppages, accidents, weather and construction. Since each station is only counted on one day, those factors become magnified making that days count irrelevant. Even though the counts are cancelled for the day, the counts have to be rescheduled for either the next day or at another time. This at times can prove to be challenging but in most cases is just a minor setback.

Region of Peel

2.2.3 Timeframe
Each station is only counted from 5:30am to 8:30pm and thus leaves an ever increasingly important time slot untouched. The Region of Peel is home to one of the biggest trucking industries in North America and more trucks seem to be travelling during the night time to avoid rush hour but with the limited timeframe of the manual count, the vehicles travelling at that time would not be counted. To put into perspective how big the trucking industry is in the Region of Peel, 40% of Peels GDP is directly from the Goods Movement Industries (Statistics Canada, Strategic Projections Inc, 2011).

2.2.4 Human Error


With all things done by humans, the Cordon Count comes across human error and this cannot be avoided even with the most trustworthy counters doing the job. Human error in relation to the Cordon Count program can come in the form of fatigue due to the long, strenuous hours and just simply missing a car or being slightly off. Nothing can be done about it and it is the main challenge in maintaining data integrity.

2.2.5 Equipment Malfunction


When any piece of equipment does not work, the data that was collected that day has lost its integrity so new counts may have to be rescheduled causing problems for the Region of Peel. For example, a consulting firms counters had grime on them causing some miscounts. In turn, the Region of Peel had had to consider adding multiple stations to the recount list which would occur in September.

3 Automatic Traffic Recorders [ATRs]


Automatic Traffic Recorders have the same purpose as a manual count does but as the name aptly suggests, the traffic counting is done automatically. They come in many different forms and can all be purchased directly from a company or the job can be contracted out much like the manual count.

3.1 ATR Advantages


In general, ATRs have a distinct advantage over the manual count. Specific ATRs, such as a radar sensor may provide even more benefits not listed here but have been described in more detail in the next section. Highlighted in this section are the general advantages of using an ATR system over the manual count.

Region of Peel

3.1.1 Consistency and Accuracy


With an automatic device counting all of the data, the information that is collected is not prone to human error and theoretically the data should be 100% correct all of the time. As much as we would like the data to be correct all the time, it is not, as ATRs are vulnerable to equipment malfunction or improperly calibrated equipment.

3.1.2 Accessibility
With most ATRs, data can be processed very quickly and some have the ability to be sent automatically each day via a modem. This leaves almost no time lag and gives the Region of Peel the most up to date data. There were many instances with the manual count where data would come back up to a month after it was originally counted.

3.1.3

Flexibility

Unlike the manual count, the ATRs can record data for a longer period of time, allowing more flexibility in their placement. For example, if an accident occurs in close proximity to a station, the ATR can be left untouched instead of having to coordinate another count. This makes the process of collecting data a little more worry-free.

3.1.4 Depth of Information


Although some of the ATRs do not capture auto occupancy, the system does go into more detail in capturing vehicles as there are fourteen classes (attached in Appendix B) instead of the manual counts eight. In this case, it is good to keep in mind that the manual counts encompasses auto, taxi and bus occupancy and the type of buses (i.e. School, GO, YRT, Brampton Transit, Mississauga Transit). In conjunction with that, the ATRs are now capturing speed data which can help in determining how fast traffic moves at certain times as well as whether the current speed limit is warranted.

3.1.5 Quantity of Data


Due to the ability of the ATRs to be out for a longer period of time, there is more data that can be collected. This is especially important with the current trend of trucks starting to travel more during the night time. With the manual count, traffic is only counted between 5:30am-8:30pm, leaving a

Region of Peel

window where potentially numerous truck traffic is occurring. The ATRs would be able to capture that window and allow the Region of Peel to see how much truck traffic is really occurring throughout the whole day. This year was unique for the Region of Peel as 6 stations were part of a pilot program to gather 24-hour data near industrial complexes.

3.2 ATR Disadvantages


The ATR technology has some disadvantages to it and although may not seem as significant as the manual counts disadvantages, they still deserve consideration.

3.2.1 Cannot Gather Auto Occupancy


Even though some ATRs have the ability to count occupancy, the vast majority still do not. As per above, auto occupancy is a crucial piece of information if the Region of Peel wishes to track how effective the carpooling efforts have been.

3.2.2 Cost
Costs for ATRs have come down in recent years but whether the Region of Peel decides to contract out or purchase their own equipment, it generally will be more expensive to do. There are certain exceptions such as with the City of Edmonton as referred to below in Section 4.1.2, but in most cases the budget will need to be increased to accommodate the ATRs.

3.2.3 Vulnerable to Weather


Bad weather conditions can affect the readings of the road tube and if the ATRs are placed during a snow storm, the snowploughs or street cleaners may break the tubing down and destroy it. This is why tubes are never placed on roadways during the winter. There are possible solutions for these problems as other products are off the road or become part of the road.

3.3 Types of ATRs


There are numerous types of ATRs but the two main kinds are: road tubes and devices installed close to the road.

3.3.1 Road Tubes


Road tubes are the most common types of ATRs because this was the first method for counting traffic other than the manual count. It requires employees/contractors to stop traffic for a period of time while they install or remove the tubes on the roadway. The vast majority of road tubes are installed

Region of Peel

at midblock locations where few intersections are. This is due to the fact that the closer the road tubes get to the intersection, the more errors that occur with the data. The road tube counters will incorrectly register the movements or not count them at all when any of the following occur: Vehicles start queuing with their front axle crossing and not the back (Swann, 2010); Vehicles stopping on the tubes and (Swann, 2010); Vehicles crossing the tubes at less than 10km/h (Swann, 2010).

Due to the above problems, road tube counters have less flexibility in where they are placed. This is why the current ATR stations in the Region of Peel are only located in trucking areas and midblock locations. To illustrate this point, Albury City did a comparison of many ATR technologies and placed the road tube counters within sixty-five feet of a busy intersection (Swann, 2010). The traffic heading towards the intersection was undercounted by more than 10% whilst the traffic heading away was within 3% which is illustrated in Table 1 (Swann, 2010).

Table 1: Midblock Results (Swann, 2010)

Road tube systems are generally the same no matter what company produces them and as such, there is no need to point out a specific product as the majority report volume, speed and classification. Cost projections put two road tubes at approximately $3000 USD (Alberk Gerken Inc).

3.3.2 Device Installed Close to the Roadway


These types of devices are becoming more popular as more variations are being offered. The two that will be covered in this report are radar sensors and video collection units [VCU].

3.3.2.1 Radar Sensors


This type of technology has previously been used as roadway sensors but has recently been applied as temporary installations such as being attached to a pole (Alberk Gerken Inc). The main challenge is finding an available structure and physically mounting it as some radar sensors need to be placed between nine feet and twenty-five feet depending on how far the sensor is placed away from the first

Region of Peel

10

detection lane (Wavetronix). These sensors can typically count up to ten lanes and be placed at an intersection or at a midblock location, taking approximately forty-five minutes to install (Alberk Gerken Inc). One example of a company which uses this technology is Wavetronix LLC which produces the SmartSensor line. The added benefit of this technology is its ability to count occupancy on top of recording speed and classification. The technology is fairly new and thus comes with updated software which is usually easier to setup then some other technologies. In terms of accuracy, the Arizona Department of Transportation commissioned a study to determine the best technology which included the Wavetronix Smart Sensor and found that it had at least 95% accuracy (Middleton et al., 2007). Cost projections put one unit at approximately $7000 USD (Alberk Gerken Inc).

3.3.2.2 Video Collection Units [VCU]


A Video Collection Unit uses digital video recording to capture all vehicle movements. The video is then uploaded to a server to be analyzed and can be manipulated under various studies such as intersection counts and ADT counts (Alberk Gerken Inc). This technology allows users to go back and perform an audit for a specific time period as the video is stored on the server itself. This makes auditing or a more detailed analysis possible. Something to consider is that due to the video recording, privacy issues can be brought up as some residents may not like the idea of being videotaped even if it is being used solely for transportation analysis. A typical installation is fairly easy as it would be affixed to a piece of street furniture such as a street lamp or pole and would usually take between 10-15 minutes to complete (Alberk Gerken Inc). The difference between a radar sensor and a VCU is the latter is installed at or slightly above ground level. A typical battery lasts for 72 hours, which adds extra insurance for a normal 24-hour study (Miovision). Albury City compared a VCU with embedded loops (SCATS) and a manual count. The manual count was used as the control numbers because it was done in-house using the video recording of the VCU. Based on this study, the VCU was very accurate, as shown in Table 2. It was within less than 1% all of the time except for one count, the eastbound right turn lane, where it was off by 9.1% (Swann, 2010).

Region of Peel

11

Cost projections put one unit at approximately $4000 USD (Alberk Gerken Inc).

Table 2: Intersection Results

4 Recommendations
Based on the above descriptions of each system, the following recommendation can be made. The manual count aspect of the Cordon Count program should be reviewed in regards to implementing an Automatic Traffic Recording system. There are considerable benefits that the ATR system possesses which cannot be matched by a manual count. Based on the needs of the Region of Peel, there are two avenues that would provide the best solution, both offering slightly different versions of collecting the data that the region would need.

4.1 Purchasing the Equipment


This option is not the easiest method as it is not familiar and may require more investigating but it is an option that should be explored. If this is the avenue that the Region of Peel chooses, then it is worth noting that it would most likely rule out purchasing road tubes and radar sensors. The main reason for this is simply the installation process. The road tubes would require training to set them up and it is a time intensive process. The radar sensors on the other hand would require a ladder either on a truck or a stand-alone, so the sensors can be placed on a place at least 9 feet up. Although the software setup is easy, the installation of the physical machine would require additional training and/or equipment. By default, a Video Collection Unit (VCU) would be the preferred option as the whole setup process would be quick and easy.

Region of Peel

12

4.1.1 Process
In this situation, the Region of Peel would put out a Request for Proposal (RFP). Based on the protocol set out by the Region of Peel, a vendor would be chosen accordingly. Units would then be stored on site and staff would only need a quick training session to understand how to use them. Whenever counts are needed, staff can quickly go out and install them as necessary and once the count is done, the units would be brought in and video footage would be uploaded and analyzed using various studies such as intersection counts or trip generation studies.

4.1.2 Benefits
Going this route would allow for the most flexibility and in some cases less hassle because there is no intermediary. This can show its benefits in many ways including quicker counts and recounts as well as all issues being handled internally. This option would also afford the Region of Peel full control of the Cordon Count program although it would mean an initial financial investment instead of constantly contracting out the services. With any electronic equipment there is the issue of it breaking down and the associated repair costs that come along with it; however there are no maintenance costs as it does not come in contact with the road or vehicles unlike a road tube which typically lasts only 30 days. A regional employee can mount it on most street furniture to collect the necessary data making it easy to install and move from station to station. The technical specifications of a typical VCU are attached in Appendix A. There have also been numerous success stories with cities using a VCU, one of which is Edmonton. The City reduced the cost of their counting program by 54% whilst expanding the amount of data the city collected. The cost breakdown of each system is in Figure 1.

Region of Peel

13

Figure 1: Cost comparison by study type (Miovision)

A VCU has the benefit of doing numerous studies at once including but not limited to: intersection counts, ADT counts, travel time studies, origin-destination studies, gap studies and trip generation studies.

4.2 Contracting Out the ATR


This option would be the most familiar to the Region of Peel as it is currently done for an extensive list of ATR stations and the manual count is at this time contracted out. In this case, all types of ATRs would be acceptable as the installation of the units would be handled by the consulting firm who have the required training and equipment to do the job safely and efficiently.

4.2.1 Process
In this situation, the Region of Peel would solicit bids from firms willing to set up the ATR stations and collect the data. When putting together a Request for Proposal [RFP], the Region of Peel may decide to outline more types of data requirements. Each time a new round of counts would be needed, proposals would be put together, each would be evaluated based on the regional purchasing policies and a contract would eventually be signed.

4.2.2 Benefits
It is worth noting that the ATRs described in the previous section provide different features which can yield different data. Based on that, the Region of Peel can specify in the RFP that they require certain types of data, which may limit the number of applications. This means that the Region of Peel gets the best accuracy while reducing the upfront cost a purchasing order would bring along.

Region of Peel

14

Going this route would mean less worry for the region in terms of handling the necessary tasks and it is the most familiar method. Like anything that is outsourced, most of the responsibility would shift to the contracted out company. It would also mean that the region would get the most competitive bids each time a count is needed, maximizing the efficiency of the allotted budget. On top of that, these companies will most likely have updated equipment which could mean more accurate data counting and a wider range of data to be collected.

4.3 Preferred Option


Based on the two avenues recommended above, the preferred option would be contracting out a consulting firm that uses the radar sensors. The reasoning behind this is that the Region of Peel only does the counts once in a while. The technology may get outdated fairly quickly whereas a consulting firm would have the resources to continually have the latest generation of technology. As well, the Region of Peel currently contracts out, so it is a familiar process. Choosing radar sensors as the preferred technology also makes sense because there are slight issues with the other two technologies. The road tubes are outdated and may never improve from the current state and while the VCU offers intriguing benefits, there is a privacy issue to consider. The radar sensors however do have one obstacle being the installation but since the work is being contracted out, it would be handled on their end. There would be no need for road closures as the installation can take place at the side of the road so permission and/or permit may be needed from the Region of Peel.

5 Conclusion
The Region of Peel has always used the manual count system and thus far it has provided a wealth of information, but with numerous technological advances, it is time to change the way the Region of Peel operates the Cordon Count program. The current system has come at the cost of increasing problems and reduced validity of the data, making it harder for the Region of Peel to do its job of forecasting for the future. Based on what the two systems can offer; there is a clear advantage that ATRs hold over the manual count. This advantage is too hard to ignore and although the ATRs may require more upfront cost, the benefits will pay for themselves with the improved data the Region of

Region of Peel

15

Peel receives. Whichever avenue the Region of Peel decides to take, whether that is contracting out the service or buying the equipment, the move will represent a step in the right direction.

6 Appendixes
6.1 Appendix A

Region of Peel

16

Region of Peel

17

Region of Peel

18

6.2

Appendix B

Region of Peel

19

7 Works Cited
Alberk Gerken Inc. Accuracy Comparison of Non-Intrusive, Automated Traffic Volume Counting Equipment. Brandon, 2009. Middleton, Dan, Ryan Longmire, Shawn Turner, Texas Transportation Institute, and Texas A&M University. State of the Art Evaluation of Traffic Detection and Monitoring Systems. Tech. no. FHWA-AZ-07-627(1). Vol. 1. 2007. Miovision. "Scout Video Collection Unit." Miovision Technologies. 18 July 2011. <http://www.miovision.com/products/hardware/scout-vcu/>. Swann, Steven. AlburyCity Comparison of Traffic Data Collection Methods. Alburty City, 2010. Statistics Canada, Strategic Projections Inc., 2011 Mississauga Business Directory, 2009 Brampton Employer Survey, and 2007 Caledon Business Directory. Wavetronix. SmartSensor: Installer Quick-Reference Guide. 2010. s