The Value of Citizen-Science Powered Data Counting for People-Friendly Streets

• Written by Robert McIntosh on 24 June 2024

Using citizen-science to make people friendly street projects in the UK more effective

As councils across the UK continue to develop new people-friendly streets, also known as low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), it's more crucial than ever to have robust data collection methods to measure the impact of these initiatives. The recent UK government report on “Implementing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods” suggests that councils should “follow the good practice principles of monitoring and evaluation which are outlined in the Active Travel England fund monitoring guidance”. Citizen-science powered data counters from Telraam could be an invaluable tool in this effort, providing many key benefits that align with Active Travel Tranche 4 Fund Guidance.

1. Enhanced Data Accuracy and Coverage

Citizen-science powered data counters can significantly enhance the accuracy and coverage of data collection. Traditional methods, such as periodic manual counts and professional surveys, suffer from limited scope and high costs. In contrast, citizen-science initiatives can leverage the collective efforts of community members to gather extensive data across different times and multiple locations. 

2. Community Engagement and Ownership

Involving citizens in data collection fosters a sense of community ownership of the data and engagement with the process. When residents actively participate in monitoring the impact of people-friendly streets, they are more likely to support these initiatives and advocate for their success. This community buy-in is essential for the sustainability of such projects, as highlighted in the Active Travel England Guidance, which encourages local authorities to engage and consult with communities and stakeholders throughout the planning and implementation process.

3. Cost-Effective and Scalable Solutions

Telraam citizen-science powered data counters offer a cost-effective and scalable solution for local authorities. By using easily deployable technologies such as Telraam S2 sensors, communities can gather large volumes of data without the need for expensive equipment or extensive professional manpower. This efficiency is crucial for local authorities managing limited budgets and resources. This is particularly useful since it is important to gather data not only from the target area, but from “a comparison site, where no new scheme is being built” so it is essential to have a cost effective way of gathering easily comparable data.

4. Real-Time and Longitudinal Data Collection

Telraam data counters can provide real-time and longitudinal data, allowing for ongoing monitoring and timely adjustments to LTN and people-friendly street designs. Having them in place over a long period provides accurate baseline data, but also comparable data on the impact of any interventions. Longitudinal data is essential for assessing long-term impacts and trends, ensuring that the benefits of any active travel interventions are sustained over time and communicated clearly to residents and local communities. At the same time, real-time data helps local authorities quickly identify issues and respond to community concerns, enhancing the overall effectiveness and responsiveness of these projects.

5. Empowering Evidence-Based Decision Making

The data collected through citizen-science initiatives empowers local authorities to make evidence-based decisions. Detailed and comprehensive data allows for a better understanding of how LTN interventions and people-friendly street plans affect local traffic patterns, air quality, safety, and overall community well-being. This aligns with the Active Travel England Guidance, which stresses the importance of preparing “local cycling and walking infrastructure plans (LCWIPs)” to prioritise, evaluate and report on the outcomes of active travel projects.

6. Transparency and Accountability

Data collection through citizen-science by the residents most affected, promotes transparency and accountability in the evaluation process. By involving the community in data gathering, local authorities can ensure that the evaluation process is transparent and that the results are trustworthy and reflective of actual conditions. This transparency builds trust between the authorities and the community, a critical factor for the success of active travel initiatives.


Telraam S2, the citizen-science powered data counters, are an invaluable tool for collecting data to measure the impact of creating low traffic neighbourhoods and people-friendly streets in the UK. They provide enhanced data accuracy and coverage, foster community engagement, offer cost-effective solutions, enable real-time and longitudinal data collection, support evidence-based decision-making, and promote transparency and accountability. By integrating Telraam citizen-science initiatives into their evaluation process, local authorities can effectively implement and sustain active travel interventions, as encouraged by the Active Travel England Guidance and supported by the UK central government.

Incorporating citizen-science into this planning not only strengthens data collection but also enriches the community’s involvement and support, ultimately leading to more successful and impactful active travel projects.

If you want to learn more about how Telraam works, and how we can support your local traffic plans, get in touch via our website, or emailing us at