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Bicycle Wayfinding for Today, Data Collection for Tomorrow

Implement bicycle wayfinding signage to promote/connect the area and create bike/ped count pro to guide/encourage future investments

Photo of Todd Scott
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Bicycle wayfinding signage is a proven means for connecting current bicyclists (as well as other transportation modes) to destinations. The given distance is often short which can encourage non-bicyclists to consider mode shifts away from personal motor vehicles. Since the signage design has already been approved by the City of Detroit and Wayne County, it can be implemented quickly to improve mobility for residents, workers, and visitors of the Michigan Central Station Impact Area. Though the Detroit bicycle wayfinding guide was created in 2014, it has never been implemented in the city. We see this as an opportunity to start in Corktown and spread across Detroit.

To prepare for the future, we need data to determine where and how people are moving throughout the area. Data for motor vehicles can be acquired through sources such as cell data. The data is not readily available for other mobility modes. We propose installing permanent bike and pedestrian counters at key points within the area and making it available to the public. This usage data can help the city and state determine which routes need greater investment and improvement. By making the data available to others, it can be aggregated and used in other unique and unforeseen ways. While there are counters on Cass Avenue and the Dequindre Cut today, the data is limited to those routes and is not available to the public in any form.

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Cities have found that even though it is called bicycle wayfinding, it is used by everyone. The impact area has a density of destinations. This type of wayfinding helps everyone find and get to these destinations, but especially visitors. And since the distances are relatively short, the wayfinding encourage people -- especially residents and workers -- to make these trips by bicycle, scooter, or on foot.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users
  • Prototype - you have built a prototype and tested it with potential users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We have not tested the wayfinding, though it has been developed and approved by the City of Detroit. It also follows federal guidelines for signage within public right-of-ways. We have collected data on both Cass Avenue and the Dequindre Cut using automated counters. The data is stored on a vendor web site which is not public and awkward to access. For this proposal, we would acquire the vendors data API and transfer the data to our web host, massaged into a standard format, and shared.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

For wayfinding, we could contract LivingLAB for assistance. They developed the original guide and pilot project. We'd work with the City on sign creation & installation. For data collection, we are currently partnering with the UM School of Information on bicycle and pedestrian data collection, analysis, and publication. We would meld that work with this proposal. We also have the technical and web knowledge with our Executive Director Todd Scott, who has a background in software engineering

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

$30,000 data counter equipment $10,000 data API and software development $10,000 data counter installation $30,000 wayfinding signage plan $20,000 wayfinding signage implementation

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

For wayfinding, we would pilot on one popular bicycle route (e.g. W. Vernor) first, collect user feedback, make any necessary revisions, and implement the project throughout the remainder of the area. Given that data collection is already occurring, we see less need to pilot this. We will need to pilot how the data is presented online both in raw and HTML-friendly formats.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

The data collection will provide the measure of success for the wayfinding. We can track trends. The data collection success can be measured through web site analytics that track hits to the data.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

We will work closely with the City to implement the signage. Their sign shop can create and install replacements for lost signs as they do with all traffic signs. New destinations within the impact area may necessitate updated wayfinding signs. The updates can be created and installed by the sign shop. The data counters do required battery replacement every 2 years. We can find corporate sponsors to cover this minimal charge. We do foresee any additional costs or work for to the web backend .

Social Media

@detroitgreenway on Twitter & Instagram @DetroitGreenways on Facebook

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Boratha Tan

Hi Todd Scott thanks for submitting. I am a facilitator in the City:One team. I can see this helping the city create some plans for alternate forms of mobility. I was wondering if the data collection system can determine if public transit (or even AVs) is needed, in addition to bike traffic/foot traffic.