There are a number of ways we monitor trail use; some of these are informal and rely on club members reporting on who they talked to while out riding.
However, there are a couple of more formal methods used:
- The NPDC has an infra-red counter at Mangamahoe. The NPDC pass the traffic information to us. Some of the data from this counter will graphed and shown on this page in the future.
- We have installed four MTB counters that work using a magnetometer on a number of the trails (they do pick up carbon bikes!) at Mangamahoe. We are using these TRAFx trail counters operating in Bike mode. The trails that were part of the first period of monitoring were: Kiwi Kids, Mandatory Power Play, Lawsons Loop – GDO Link and Kahore Tau. Subsequently the counter from the Kiwi Kids track has been moved to the new Track W, so some data from that trail’s use is now included.
Some of the results provided from the 24 weeks of data collected from the TRAFx counters are shown here:
Between mid January and the beginning of July, just under 210 bikes/week on Mandatory Power Play, 105 bikes/week on Kahore Tau and just over 50 bikes/week headed out the back along Lawsons Loop/GDO Link. The new Track W has had a counter active since the 14th June, initially it was the one on Mandatory that got moved to allow the trail work by TrailPro to proceed without damaging the counter and then on the 29th June, the MPP counter was moved back and the Kiwi Kids one relocated to Track W.
The weekly totals show a dip at the end of March and the first weeks in April but picked up again during May. The trail closures due to the forestry trimming and thinning operations and the weather on the new trails made June’s figures go all over the place.
For the 23 weeks there was a counter on the Kiwi Kids trail, the above shows the numbers/week. An average of 245 bikes/week [with a maximum of 566] used the trail, so we know it is a popular track.
Previously, a third of the riders passing a counter did so on a Sunday and a fifth on a Saturday. Has this changed?
Sunday is still the most popular day to ride these trails at Mangamahoe with Thursday and Friday being the quietest. On a Sunday on average over the 25 weeks, over 95 bikes were using the Kiwi Kids track, 65 per Sunday on Mandatory PowerPlay and almost 30 per Sunday on Kahore Tau. Not enough data yet to make much of Track W’s use per day of the week.
What does a daily count look like? We currently have 170 days (24 weeks) of data:
There are some clear spikes that correspond with events e.g. Manga and Bangas on the 5th March which gives the big spike of 392 bikes/day on Kiwi Kids and the 4 hour teams event giving Mandatory Power Play a count of 206 bikes/day on the 19th March. A regular weekly cycle is starting to show up that corresponds to the weekend use of the park.
There are some days when no one is riding these trails but you can see the averages per day.
It is not surprising that the weekends are the time the park is most used with over 95 riders out on the park some time over the weekend on one of the four trails monitored.
The trails further from the car park show a definite pattern, morning riders then quieter at lunchtime, then numbers increasing during the afternoon. There are some odd times of the night when someone is using Kahore Tau for some very early morning riding.
We can get monthly averages; the data shows that over 1100 bikes per month are riding on the Kiwi Kids track whereas the ones further out have less. The values for July are a projection based only on 7 days of data, so these values will be updated when the next lot of data is retrieved from the field.
The June values for Mandatory Power Play were affected by the trail upgrade work and Kahore Tau’s by a week’s closure due to trees being across the trail from the forestry operations.
It will be interesting to see if these trends continue to change when the new trails are being ridden more. They may encourage riders to venture further into the park try out the new trails on the west side of the main gravel road.