The People Moving Count measures how many people move through a space and by what means. This information gives us a sense of how busy a space is at different times of day and how accessible it is by different modes of transport.
You can use the People Moving Count at a variety of scales, including a park, plaza, street, bus stop, neighborhood, or city. For example, it’s useful for measuring the effectiveness of a new crosswalk, the popularity of a festival, or the stickiness of a park: how many people move past it vs. how many people stop to spend time there.
The City of Copenhagen, Denmark, applies this method at the city scale. Each year, it counts how many people are spending time in public space and publishes the results. In 2015, Copenhagen met its 5-year target of 20% more people spending time in public, and 80% of residents reported feeling satisfied with the quality of the public realm. While most cities have protocols for measuring traffic data and property values, few cities set quantitative targets for pedestrians and public space users. But crafting such targets can be productive in unifying ambitions across city agencies ranging from parks, transportation, planning, and economic development.
To use this tool, you will stand in a space with an invisible line 10-15 feet in front of you, then record how many people move past the line and how they are moving (by foot, bicycle, etc.).
Don’t forget: print this tool double-sided! It is meant to be folded into a booklet.
Our public life tools are free for all to download, use, and remix to meet your project’s needs. If you use this tool, we would love to hear from you!