NYC Getting a Portable, Public Bike Counter

February 16, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

New York City is getting its first real-time bike counter, which will be used to tally the number of bicyclists who ride by a specific spot.

Portland and San Francisco already use bike counters.

Hardware company Tomorrow Lab and volunteer group Planning Corps have teamed up to build one for community use. A public demonstration is scheduled for Feb. 18 at Tomorrow Lab’s Manhattan offices.

How It Works

The bike counter is built to be weather- and theft-proof, mobile, and low cost.

Tomorrow Lab created a traffic counter called WayCount and is modifying the technology to create a large, battery-powered sign that can be read from up to 100 feet away. The sign will display the number of bicyclists who ride by it on a given day.

The counter uses a pneumatic tube, so every time a bike passes the tube the counter registers the movement and the number goes up by one.


Last year, bike activity on the Hudson River Greenway peaked at 8,000 riders in a single day. With the city’s bike share program and nicer weather around the corner, Planning Corps expects even hig

her numbers. It can measure up to 99,999 riders.

There is no official plan for the counter yet, but many community and biking groups can make use of the data.

“The counter will help more communities use data in local decision making, and help make the volume of cyclists more visible in the city,” according to the Planning Corps website.