Prague to monitor bike traffic

A new program will count bikers and pedestrians for future planning

Prague is launching new technology to help plan future bicycle and pedestrian paths. A two-meter tall blue-and-white pole at Podolské nábřeží will display real-time data on how many pedestrians and cyclists have passed through on the given day and for the whole year. It will also show the time, date and temperature.

No personal data of individuals will be gathered or stored.

Measured weekly and monthly values will help get information about pedestrians and cyclists throughout the year, including the impact of temperature and season on their numbers.

This information will be used to plan future investment plans for non-motorized transport. The pole was launched as part of the current European Mobility Week, which highlights the advantages of eco-friendly modes of transport.

The measured data can also be viewed online on web pages at www.praha.eu and www.cistoustopou.cz. The number of cyclists per day and per year, divided by the direction of travel, will be updated every fifteen minutes.

“Measurement of the intensity of non-motorized transport also enables us to better plan and evaluate investments in urban infrastructure, urban mobility plans and other projects. Thanks to the statistics, we know which places are the most utilized, and where it will be necessary to renovate more frequently, renew the traffic signs and build bicycle racks and other infrastructure,” Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD) said on the City Hall website.

Another advantage of the new statistical pole is its clarity. Everyone can quickly and easily navigate through the numbers. “The pole is located next to a divided pedestrian and cyclist trail on Podolské nábřeží near Vyšehrad Rock. It is located on one of the most frequented trails in Prague. We chose the site so that the pole was easy to read and at the same time did not disturb the natural landscape and would not restrict free passage or transit through the monitoring site,” Prague 4 Mayor Petr Štěpánek said.

An imaging device is linked to a nearby counting device. Cyclists are recorded through induction loops embedded in the surface of the divided path for cyclists. Pedestrians are counted using a thermal sensor. These technologies do not make any audio or video recordings, so Praguers do not have to worry about being watched.

“The operation of the pole can be monitored remotely to ensure its functioning and the shortest possible time to resolve its eventual failure,” said Luboš Kala of the Nadace Partnerství, which delivered and installed the pole in Prague.

The city in the long term is hoping to increase the use of bicycles and reduce the number of cars in the city, to reduce pollution and also to encourage people to exercise.

There are currently several different bike sharing programs in the city as well, which allow people to use a phone app to rent a bike from the street and drop it off at the end of their destination.

But not everyone is on board. The Prague 1 district is limiting bikes in the touristy parts of the historical center from 10 am to 5 pm. The issue is now in the courts.

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