- "Traffic counter" redirects here. For traffic counting in computer networks, see Network traffic measurement.
A traffic count is a count of traffic along a particular road, either done electronically or by people counting by the side of the road. Traffic counts can be used by local councils to identify which routes are used most, and to either improve that road or provide an alternative if there is an excessive amount of traffic. Also, some geography fieldwork involves a traffic count. They are useful for comparing two or more roads, and also can be used alongside other methods to find out where the CBD of a settlement is located.
To permanently or temporarily monitor the usage of a road, an electronic traffic counter can be installed or placed to measure road usage continuously or for a short period of time. Most modern equipment called ATR's (Automatic Traffic Recorders) store count and/or classification data recorded in memory in a timestamp or interval fashion that can be downloaded and viewed in software or via a count display on some equipment. In some instances people either draw up a table and/or use a tally to keep a record of vehicles which pass manually as an alternative to ATR's.
Example Table from a Traffic Count
This is an example of a traffic count, showing the type of vehicle and the data collected at a particular place in each direction. As you can see, this data has been compiled into numbers from each direction and a total count. The original table (which was used out on the road) used data recorded in tally form.
|Vehicle Type||Direction X||Direction Y||Total|
Traffic counter device
A traffic counter is a device, often electronic in nature, used to count, classify, and/or, measure the speed of vehicular traffic passing along a given roadway. The device is usually deployed in near proximity to the roadway and uses an intrusive medium, such as pneumatic road tubes laid across the roadway, piezo-electric sensors embedded in the roadway, inductive loops cut into the roadway, or a combination of these to detect the passing vehicles. One of the first traffic counting units, called traffic recorders, was introduced in 1937 and operated off a strip laid across the street and operated off a six volt battery. Each hour it printed off a paper strip with the total for that hour. Recently, in the interest of worker safety and ease of installation, non-intrusive technologies have been developed. These devices generally use some sort of transmitted energy such as radar waves or infrared beams to detect vehicles passing over the roadway.
- FHWA Traffic Monitoring Guide TMG - Traffic Monitoring Guide. April 2008. Retrieved July 2010
- "Strip Across Road Counts Cars and Registers Hourly Total" Popular Mechanics, July 1936