On the assumption that “what is counted, counts”, Walking SA has been looking for ways to measure the amount of walking done, both on hiking trails and in our urban areas.
Every year Bike Adelaide manages the Super Tuesday counts. Volunteers count cyclists as they ride past particular points from 7am to 9am on the first Tuesday in March. We’ve been working with Bike Adelaide, both asking our membership for volunteers to count pedestrians, and asking Bike Adelaide volunteers who count cyclists if they could also count pedestrians, at least where they are not too busy.
In 2020 we had 14 locations counted, and this year 35. Importantly, ten of the 35 were counted in both years, so we are starting to be able to measure trends. All but one of the 10 locations saw an increase compared with 2021. The total increase at the 10 locations was 17%.
Here are the figures for locations counted in both years:
|Port Road/ Gaol Road||110||124||13%|
|Dequetteville Tce/ King William||102||113||11%|
|Osmond Tce/ William St||100||143||43%|
|Fullarton Rd/ William St||94||116||23%|
|Frome St/ Wakefield St||333||372||12%|
|West Tce/ Sir Donald Bradman Dr||202||206||2%|
|West Tce/ Sturt St||98||67||-32%|
|East Tce/ South Tce/ Beaumont Rd||232||243||5%|
|Westside Bikeway/ South Road||18||21||17%|
The overall increase is interesting given that the counts tend to be in an around the City, and overall numbers heading into the City are probably lower than they were in early March 2020. One explanation for this might be the increase in walking for exercise that was encouraged by the Covid lockdown. Also there may well be people walking who previously caught the bus.
But it should also be noted that, with one or two exceptions, pedestrians were not counted in the CBD itself – there are just too many of pedestrians to be counted and in any case counts at these locations the count would probably measure the popularity of the CBD rather than the popularity of walking.
Whatever, it’s good to see more walking in our inner suburbs.