Can Counting Bikes Change Behavior?

Aug 23

I recently read an article about a bike counter that was installed on a bridge in Portland, OR. The idea is that it counts how many cyclists cross the bridge and then keeps a visible tally for all who pass by, on bikes or otherwise.  From midnight to 3pm, Portland’s Hawthorne Bridge had a cyclist count of nearly 3,500. Pretty impressive.  In addition, the counter tracks several other factors including time of day and the weather.  Information like this can help city planners keep roads safe for all and provide better access for cyclists.

But more than just counting bikes, I wonder if seeing just how many of their fellow peers are pushing pedals will help motivate others to take up cycling as a more regular mode of transportation?  Surely knowing thousands of others are taking up biking will inspire action in others to do the same.

Nowadays this tactic of using positive peer pressure to change your perception of what your neighbors are doing is used widely and can be greatly influential.  From a note in your electric bill comparing your energy efficiency to that of your neighbors to seeing their recycling bin by the curb, harnessing the power positive peer pressure can have an immense impact and help positively change behaviors.

What do you think? Would driving by a sign promoting just how many of your fellow citizens were biking make you more aware of cycling as an option? What behaviors have you changed due to a little positive peer pressure?

Can Counting Bikes Change Behavior

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 at 9:30 am and is filed under Behavior Change, Social Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Can Counting Bikes Change Behavior?”

  1. Carrie Dooher says:

    What a great idea! I know I contemplate riding my bike to work almost every week and seeing other people doing it always makes me think it wouldn’t be as hard as I think to coordinate that commute. Thanks for sharing this.