Products, Services, and Data
Appropriate bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is an integral part of a comprehensive transportation system. Providing for bicyclists and pedestrians contributes to a healthy community by reducing air pollution through reducing the number of vehicles on the road, as well as by increasing the individual health of those who walk or bike. Bicycle and pedestrian use also supports other transportation modes by reducing the number of cars on the road – thus reducing both congestion and maintenance needs – and providing for the “first and last mile” – that portion of a trip before and after a person uses public transportation or parks their private vehicle.
The Active Transportation Workgroup advises COMPASS on regional bicycle and pedestrian planning efforts, including providing feedback on infrastructure and level of service maps, bicycle/pedestrian demand, public transportation connectivity, and freight conflicts.
Bicycle and pedestrian issues are discussed in the Active Transportation section of Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 (CIM 2040 2.0; the current long-range transportation plan).
The Bike Walk Compass, an interactive bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure map application, was created by COMPASS to inform member agencies, elected officials, residents, and visitors about the existing and planned bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure within Ada and Canyon Counties. Infrastructure within this map are either existing or a reflection of local agency planning documents. Each feature on the map has additional information including the name, facility type, jurisdiction, and plan source, and can be identified with a single mouse click.
COMPASS is working with the Active Transportation Workgroup to develop a 2050 Regional Pathways and Bikeways plan and incorporate off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities into Communities in Motion 2050. The plan will function in tandem with the Treasure Valley’s existing bicycle and pedestrian development plans and ensure intercity and interagency pathway connectivity by identifying regionally significant off-street routes and prioritizing needed pathway segments for design and funding.
All transportation needs should be considered when designing roadways, and means of meeting those needs must be intentionally built into the transportation system design. COMPASS uses a Complete Streets Level of Service model to evaluate the completeness of transportation corridors for bicycle, pedestrian, and public transportation services. A level of service letter grade (A – F) is provided for each transportation mode. In 2013, COMPASS completed an initial complete streets analysis of all principal and minor arterials and select collector roadways to identify the level of service for pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation. This analysis sheds light on one aspect of the “supply” side of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Link to COMPASS Complete Network Policy (2021) (PDF)
Link to Complete Streets Level of Service Report (PDF)
Currently there are an estimated 2,147 open Rail-Trails in the US, for a total of 24,129 miles. Within Idaho, 24 Rail-Trails exist, covering 462 miles. However, few are in southwest Idaho.
Through the COMPASS Rail with Trail Workgroup, planners, elected officials, business owners, active transportation advocates, police officers, health professionals, and other members of the community began exploring the potential of a dedicated, off-street, low-stress, bicycle and pedestrian route along the Union Pacific Boise spur line (the Boise Cutoff). To better coordinate region-wide pathway planning, the Rail with Trail Workgroup has since been merged with the COMPASS Active Transportation Workgroup, but work to explore the potential for a Rail with Trail continues.
Find out more information on Rails with Trails here.
COMPASS has installed 16 permanent bicycle/pedestrian counters to collect data on bicycle and pedestrian use around the valley. The counters provide information such as the numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians using certain routes, and the days of week and times of day they are using them. They track trends over time, to see if and how the numbers of users change by time of day, day of week, and month of year.
The permanent counters are the first of their kind in Idaho.The locations for the counters were chosen with input from the Active Transportation Workgroup, along with other considerations including vendor-supplied data and bicycle and pedestrian crash statistics.
COMPASS uses two different types of counters. Fifteen of them use infrared sensors to count users and are able to differentiate between cyclists and pedestrians and between directions of travel. One counter, located in the City of Nampa, collects more sophisticated data. It provides the same information as the other counters, but also detects how cyclists and pedestrians interact with the surrounding environment, such as showing if users are dodging obstacles or taking short cuts. Most importantly, this counter generates tangible data to show how different modes (e.g., cars and bicycles) interact with each other on shared roadways. These data will help COMPASS and our members better plan for safer infrastructure and travel patterns.
In addition to the permanent counters, which focus on dedicated biking and walking paths, COMPASS has also purchased portable bicycle/pedestrian counters which can be used on trails, roads, and at intersections. These portable counters can capture a lot of information about a small area, then be moved to do the same in a different area. When several portable counters are used together, they can measure all the bicycle and pedestrian movements at an entire intersection at one time.
The portable counters are available for temporary use by COMPASS members. COMPASS will install the counters and collect data upon request using the various types of counting equipment available. Learn more about on- and off-street counting equipment and request specific locations for installation.
Portable counters are not available from November 15 – February 28/29 each year. Installation request forms may still be submitted during this frame for installation at a later date.COMPASS augments its counter data with manual bicycle counts conducted twice each year by the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance and Bike Walk Nampa.
In 2018, COMPASS received a Technology Transfer grant from the Federal Highway Administration to purchase and outfit a “data bike” to collect quantitative pavement condition data – primarily roughness data and photos – for pathways and other off-street facilities in Ada and Canyon Counties.
COMPASS began using the bike in 2020, primarily to test the bike’s features and develop standard operating procedures. In summer 2021, COMPASS will begin full usage of the bike to analyze pathway conditions to aid in understanding and prioritizing pathway maintenance needs. The data collected will complement field inspections performed by local agency staff. The COMPASS Active Transportation Workgroup will help identify priority pathway segments to analyze each year.
For more information on regional bicycle and pedestrian planning, contact Dane Hoskins at [email protected] or 208/475-2233.