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Transportation

Cordon Count Program

The Cordon Count Program is a vehicle classification and occupancy survey, which monitors change in travel characteristics across the Region of Durham and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  The program involves conducting traffic counts for a typical weekday by vehicle type (passenger, commercial, buses, GO rail and taxis), direction of travel and recording the number of occupants for all non-commercial vehicles.  In Durham, the traffic counts are conducted along 12 main screenlines, which are imaginary lines that coincide with natural or man-made features, such as creeks and roads, that connect a series of count stations.  A cordon represents a geographic area enclosed by a series of screenlines.

The purpose of the Cordon Count Program is to:

  • Generate travel data to assist in understanding the utilization of the existing road system and transit infrastructure.
  • Identify emerging travel trends.
  • Assess the need for new infrastructure.
  • Develop policies towards sustainable transportation. 

The first Durham Cordon Count Program was conducted in 1976.  Since 1989, each of Durham’s five count programs has been co-ordinated with the City of Toronto; Regions of York, Peel and Halton; the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO); GO Transit; and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  Data storage and administrative services are provided by the Data Management Group at University of Toronto.

In June 2013, Cole Engineering prepared the GTA Cordon Count Program Transportation Trends 2001-2011 report, on behalf of the GTA Cordon Count Committee. The report presents a comprehensive analysis of emerging trends and travel patterns for the entire GTA, and aims to raise awareness of the value in using cordon count data for decision-making and strategic planning on policy formulation and investments in infrastructure. The report includes an analysis of topical issues such as high occupancy vehicles, transit use, and commercial traffic.