The City's Transportation Department does an annual count of cars, buses, pedestrians, and bicycles entering and exiting the Central Business District. This "CBD cordon count" is used to track the mode share of commuters. Last October, it was reported that the downtown mode share of transit has reached 50%.
Bike Calgary has just obtained the 2011 CBD cordon count data from the City. The 22-hour count of bikes entering and leaving the CBD has broken 10,000 for the first time, up 6% over last year's number, and up almost 15% over 2009. During the morning peak hour (7:15-8:15 am) only, which the City uses to measure the transportation mode share, 1,182 bikes were counted entering the CBD, of a total of 57,618 people in cars, buses, on bikes and on foot. This amounts to a cycling mode share of 2.05% (up from 1.86% last year). (Other modes: drivers 33.4%, passengers 6.7%, transit 49.3%, pedestrians 8.6%.) [more]
During the 2011 morning peak hour, 19,287 cars, 197 trucks, and 330 buses were counted entering the CBD. The percentage of bicycles among peak hour road traffic is thus 5.6% (up from 5.2% in 2009). For the three hours 7:00-9:00 am, the bicycle count was 1,925, up from 1,653 in 2009. In the longer time frame, the bicycle mode share was 1.97% (up from 1.79% last year), and the bicycle share of traffic 4.96% (up from 4.33%).
The cordon counts of course have their limitations. They're done over several days in May (in 2010, some counts had to be repeated and adjusted in November). Weather is always a factor in how many people ride to work on a given day; in May 2011 the morning temperatures ranged between 4 and 10 degrees, with the last week of May rainy; in 2009 the weather was similar, and early May 2010 much worse (snow and below 0) but mid May much better. By contrast, in mid-May 2008 the morning temperatures reached 20 degrees! (Historical weather data here.) The cordon counts also don't catch everyone: about 140,000 people work downtown, but less than 100,000 were counted as entering the CBD between 7 and 9 am.