Traffic monitoring loops on cycle paths

goosander

Senior Member
Location
Edinburgh
About a week ago, I saw a traffic monitoring loop (the type of thing usually used to control traffic lights or count vehicles) being embedded in to the tarmac on a cycle path at Dalmeny and have since noticed that there is also one near the Forth Road Bridge as well.

Does anyone know the reason for these being installed? I presume that they could be used for counting the number of cycles using a route but it seems like a lot of money to spend just for that, so I'm wondering if there is a more sinister reason behind them such as monitoring of cyclists by the authorities or if it hints to future cycle path charging by Edinburgh Council (wouldn't put anything past those cretins).
 

andrew_s

Guru
Location
Gloucester
They are just for counting bikes to assess cycle track usage. They have them down here as well. The installation is just the wire loop and a box to hold a recording unit. The recorder itself will only be present for a couple of months a year at most.
 

domd1979

Veteran
Location
Staffordshire
The counters are there just to record cycle use for reporting purposes. Loops are usually permanent counters and in use continuously (there's probably a small grey cabinet in the vicinity housing the counter). There's nothing sinister about them!
 

domd1979

Veteran
Location
Staffordshire
Not really. Local Transport Plan funding is awarded by the DfT based on a formula then plus or minus a percentage depending on the LA's quality of LTP and performance against targets. LA's don't "claim" the majority of their transport funding. The only things an LA can bid for is bridge strengthening funds (linked to mandatory requirement to accommodate 44 tonne HCVs) and major scheme funding - a local transport scheme costing £5m or more. The LTP is not a bid document.


Elmer Fudd said:
More than likely to assist the LA to dispose of funds so they can claim the same amount next year, as if they have a surplus next years funding will be cut by that amount.
 
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goosander

Senior Member
Location
Edinburgh
Damn, that ruins a perfectly good conspiracy theory :biggrin: (still a waste of money though).

More seriously though, do these things actually work reliably on modern bikes given the low iron/steel content in modern bikes. How do they distinguish between a bike and other metallic objects e.g. a baby buggy.
 
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goosander

Senior Member
Location
Edinburgh
domd1979 said:
...plus or minus a percentage depending on the LA's quality of LTP and performance against targets.
You mean targets like the number of mile of cycles paths created, regardless of whether they are any use or not or the number of silly traffic 'calming' measures installed regardless of how unsafe they are?
 

domd1979

Veteran
Location
Staffordshire
Performance indicators now generally have to be "outcome" rather than "output" based - "miles of cycle lane" would be an output (but doesn't necessarily lead to an outcome), whereas "increase cycling trips to the town centre by x%" would be an outcome.

Seems that Fife's targets are:

* Increase cycling to key Public Transport Interchanges by 10% by 2011
* Increase cycle usage on key monitored routes:
- Across the Forth by 10% by 2011
- Across the Tay by 8% by 2011
- In St Andrews by 6% by 2011
- In Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy by 4% by 2011

http://www.fife.gov.uk/publications/index.cfm?fuseaction=publication.pop&pubid=EE533295-E7FE-C7EA-06337C13CDD4D75D

It also explains the presence of the counters.

goosander said:
You mean targets like the number of mile of cycles paths created, regardless of whether they are any use or not or the number of silly traffic 'calming' measures installed regardless of how unsafe they are?
 

Number14

Veteran
Location
Fareham
We've got several cycle paths with induction loopps around Fareham and Gosport.

They're all linked to the traffic lights and it's a satisfying feeling when you can cycle over the loops to activate the lghts and then go straight on instead of crossing the road. :biggrin:
 
goosander said:
Damn, that ruins a perfectly good conspiracy theory :biggrin: (still a waste of money though).

More seriously though, do these things actually work reliably on modern bikes given the low iron/steel content in modern bikes. How do they distinguish between a bike and other metallic objects e.g. a baby buggy.

Why should common sense and the truth ruin a good conspiracy theory.

The Daily Sexpress has made a fortune out of the Diana Conspiracy without letting these small problems get in their way!

The working depends on pressure. I believe that in theory they are calibrated so the pressure of a buggy would be insufficient to trigger.

I remember as a kid (in the old days when these things were rubber tubes and mechanical counters) trying to set them off by jumping on them or iding a bike over them - it took some pressure to do so!
 

domd1979

Veteran
Location
Staffordshire
Depends on the counter type how they work...

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/tal/cyclefacilities/monitoringlocalcycleuse?page=3

Tubes are still widely used for automatic traffic counts.


Cunobelin said:
The working depends on pressure. I believe that in theory they are calibrated so the pressure of a buggy would be insufficient to trigger.

I remember as a kid (in the old days when these things were rubber tubes and mechanical counters) trying to set them off by jumping on them or iding a bike over them - it took some pressure to do so!
 
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