MS2’s Non-Motorized Database System Module Got Even Smarter.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Traffic engineers or planners use MS2’s Non-Motorized Database System (NMDS) to manage, store, and analyze bicycle and pedestrian data For the public, NMDS provides a dashboard-level summary of the system and an easy-to-use map showing data collection locations. For the engineer, tools are available to maintain, review, and report data at any pathway. From bike lanes to pathways to sidewalks to trails, the NMDS module helps manage non-motorized traffic.

Non-motorized data can be more than just bikes and pedestrians. FHWA’s Traffic Monitoring Guide includes horseback riders, wheelchairs, skateboarders, and even motor vehicles on a trail. MS2 now supports them all. From running the data through our Quality Control engine, to reporting, viewing, and even creating seasonal factors, each mode can be treated individually.

This really helps manage data in an urban environment. When collecting counts at intersections with diverse uses, a deeper view on how the location is being used is available. How many pedestrians are on the sidewalk; how many bicycles use the sidewalk versus the adjacent bike lane? You see this and identify trends like commuter versus recreational usage. Hourly and Day of Week graphs can also show trends for each mode.

If you collect counts with people or with machines, the NMDS QC manager can check bike volumes separately from pedestrians. For example, when comparing the volume to a previous count at the location, the value can be set at 10 for the bike check, and 90 for the pedestrian check. The rules can also be applied to every pathway at the location or just the sidewalk. The current available checks can be expanded in hundreds of ways. With that flexibility, you can keep the checks as simple or detailed as you want.

Figure 1: QC Rules by Mode

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Once the data is in the system, it can be viewed from within the dashboard, maps, graphs, or data tables. A system level dashboard provides yearly, monthly, and Day of the Week trend graphs. The public can use the map to quickly find a location they are interested in. Selecting the location on the map will take them to the location’s specific data showing the same trend graphs.

Figure 2: Location Detail

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For the engineer, seasonal factors can be generated by each mode. Seasonal factors are used to adjust short counts (one or two days) for seasonal bias. For example, a count taken on a weekend in June at a multi-use trail head will be much different than if it were taken in January. For example, here in Michigan, there will be more snowmobiles than bicycles in the January count.

Locations with continuous counters (or with more days of data) can be used to generate a seasonal factor for pedestrians, bikes, or snowmobiles. NMDS uses data visualization tools to create factors for each month, or in this example, the number of bicycles counted for each Tuesday in January.

Figure 3: Seasonal Factors by Mode

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MS2 will continue supporting simple data along with these new enhancements. Your existing data collection devices may not be sophisticated enough to collect different modes. An infrared reader on a trail that just counts “things” is still an option for your Bike and Ped program because it’s still supported in the system. There is enough flexibility within NMDS to allow the engineer, planner, or data technician to manage the data as desired.

Learn more about MS2’s Non-Motorized Database System here.

And if you’d like to see a demonstration of our new features, just let us know!