Burrard Bridge Lane Reallocation Trial

Burrard Bridge statistics

Detailed pedestrian, cycling and vehicle data has been collected on the Burrard Bridge since June 2009.

Download a summary of the data collected between June 2009 and December 2010.

Some of the findings of our data analysis are described below.

Find a description of how we measure bicycles and pedestrians on the bridge here .

Pedestrians

Pedestrian volumes do not appear to have been affected significantly by the changes on the bridge. The number of walkers through the summer and early fall of 2009 was similar to number before changes were made. After a mid-winter low and dramatically higher walking numbers during the Olympic Games, pedestrian volumes have returned to the levels seen in 2009.

Since the installation of the new bike lanes, over 1.1 million walking trips have been made over the bridge.

Ped Volumes

Cyclists

Cycling volumes are up appreciably. Between July 13, 2009 and July 12, 2010, 24% more bicycle trips were made over the bridge than would have been made had the reconfiguration not happened. This amounts to an additional 200, 000 bike trips in one year. Growth on summer and fall weekends has been the most dramatic, with volumes up 40-70%.

New cycling trips are not evenly distributed across age and gender lines. Trips by women are up 31%, compared to only 23% for men. Anecdotally, many more children are seen cycling across the bridge.

Like pedestrian trips, cycling trips across the bridge were at a low mid-winter, but climbed steadily through January and February. Over 45,000 bike trips where made over the Burrard Bridge during the Winter Games (February 12-28, 2010). Summer 2010 saw unprecedented bike volumes on the bridge. July was the busiest cycling month ever, with over 160,000 bike crossings.

Bike volumes in November 2010 were lower than expected. This was likely due to construction which closed the Hornby Street bike lane from late October until early December.

Since the installation of the new bike lanes, between July 2009 and December 2010, 1.5 million bike trips have been made over the Burrard Bridge. This total is estimated to include 300,000 bike trips which would not have happened without the protected bike lanes.

Bike Volumes

 

Transit

Transit operations appear to be unaffected by the bridge changes. According to a TransLink analysis of bus running times before and after the reconfiguration, "there is little to no negative effect on bus running time since the introduction of the bike lane".

Vehicles

Neither the Burrard nor the Granville Bridge has seen appreciable changes in the number of daily vehicle crossings. The first few days following the re-configuration on Burrard Bridge saw some redistribution of traffic to Granville Bridge, but that had returned to normal within one week.

As with buses, general vehicle travel times along Burrard Street are unchanged. Driving trips which approach the bridge from the east along Pacific Boulevard are longer by about 30 seconds during peak periods. The most noticable change to vehicle travel times is for trips approaching the bridge from the west along Thurlow Street or Pacific Street. Accessing the bridge via Thurlow and Pacific now takes an average one and half minutes longer in the morning peak period and three minutes longer in the afternoon.

Safety

Findings from a University of British Columbia cycling safety study indicate that accident rates for cyclists on the Burrard Bridge have decreased. In a twenty week period during the summer of 2008, four cyclists were injured on the bridge severely enough to attend Emergency at Saint Paul's or Vancouver General Hospital. Two of these incidents involved collisions between cyclists and pedestrians with cyclists falling into the roadway. In the same twenty week period in 2009, since the re-configuration of the bridge, the number of cycling trips was up over 20% , but only one cyclist attended Emergency.

An assessment of detailed vehicle collision data for comparable periods before and after the installation of the separated bike revealed the following:

  • The most common collision type, both before and after the installation of the separated bike lanes, is a rear end collision in the Pacific to Burrard right-turn lane(s)
  • the incidence of rear end collisions in the Pacific to Burrard right-turn lane(s) has increased
  • the incidence of other collision types does not appear to have changed

In light of these findings, changes have been made to the Pacific to Burrard right-turn lane with the aim of reducing the incidence of rear end collisions. The effect of the changes will be monitored to assess their effectiveness. To see a diagram of the changes click here.

Measuring Bicycles and Pedestrians

Counting bicycles and pedestrians

On the Burrard Bridge, and at several other locations in the city, bicycles are counted using permanently installed detection equipment. Bicycles are counted using wire loops fixed to the bike lanes which detect the metal wheels passing over the loops. They are designed and built to ignore the effects of larger metal objects such as cars and trucks. We have checked and calibrated this equipment using counts done by staff on site. Pedestrian count data is collected in a similar manner. The pedestrian detectors respond to changes in heat rather than to metal. The count data is downloaded regularly and has been updated monthly on our Burrard Bridge project web site.

We also have portable bike counting tools which utilize pneumatic hoses, like similar equipment used to count vehicles. These are used on bike routes throughout the city and have been used on Pacific Street to count cyclists in the protected bike lanes connecting to the Burrard Bridge.

Estimating bicycles

We have provided estimates of the number of cyclists who would have used the Burrard Bridge without the protected lanes. We have found that it is possible to estimate the number of cyclist on one bicycle route by measuring the cyclists using another route. The number of cyclist using a route on a given day is affected by season, weather, day of the week and other factors, but collectively the cyclists using one route appear to make their decisions in the same way as the cyclists using another route. We found that this lead to patterns of use that are very similar. In statistical terms, the usage patterns are strongly correlated. We have been using measurements of the Ontario Bike Route to estimate the number of cyclists who would have used the Burrard Bridge had we made no changes.


[top]