March 1


How to Cost-Effectively Collect Accurate Traffic Counts on Driveways or Drive-Throughs

By Mike Spack

March 1, 2012

Pico Count 2500 Driveway Count Drive-through count

DrivewayTraffic engineers often want to count traffic on driveways to help them get baseline traffic data to use in forecasting traffic at proposed developments.  Business operators also find driveway or drive through traffic counts useful for a host of business analysis reasons.  

The most accurate way to collect this data is to have someone watch the driveway and tally the cars coming in and out.  This gets expensive if you need more than a few hours of data and becomes impractical if you want data collected for more than 18 hours.

You can use a video system, such as the COUNTkit, to video the driveway and count the traffic back in the office on fast forward speed.  This is accurate, but the hardware can be expensive if you just want to count driveways at a single business.

Folks have been trying to use pneumatic tube counters to count driveways for a long time, but they weren't designed to count traffic going less than 15 mph.

A new style of counter, the Pico Count 2500 came out about two years ago and it has ingeniously been designed to accurately count traffic on low speed driveways or drive-through lanes.

How to use the Pico Count 2500 to count driveway/drive-through traffic:

  1. Install the counter per the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. After the counter is installed, manually count the driveway traffic for an hour (record your tallies in 15 minute intervals).
  3. At the end of the counting period (days, weeks, or months – the Pico Count 2500 can record for 10 straight years and the memory can hold up to 20 million vehicles); bring the counter in to download the data onto your computer with the TrafficViewerPro software.
  4. Change the "Axle Correct Factors" from 2 to 1.  This means every air pulse the counter receives will be recorded as one vehicle.
  5. Change the "dwell" setting to 1000 ms (miliseconds).  This setting means any air pulse coming in faster than one second is ignored.  This will allow the data to be processed to ignore the air pulse caused by the back tires or any other "noise" that happens from a single car causing multiple air pulses.
  6. Cross reference the processed data to your manual count.  You may need to iterate the "dwell" setting to 2000 or even 3000 ms to calibrate the count data from the Pico Count 2500 to your manual count.  But once you figure out the dwell time that gets you accurate data on this driveway, you have it for this particular location's conditions and you can use that factor even if you plan to keep the counter out there on the driveway for years.


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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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