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SEATTLE The city of Seattle is unveiling its first and only automated bicycle counter on the Fremont Bridge Thursday. It will provide information that transportation officials say could help with planning future bike projects.

As cyclists cross the bridge, sensors will trigger the counter. A totem on the bridge will display the totals every day.

The information will give the Seattle Department of Transportation more accurate count of how many bikes are on the roads.

Ultimately, it helps reduce congestion because bikes take up less space on the road than a car does, But what it really does is, by giving us these hard numbers, we're able to make those direct comparisons and say, Look. We do have a lot of cyclists here or we don't have a lot of cyclists here and then we can really target where to make improvements, said Craig Moore with SDOT.

The non-profit Mark and Susan Torrance Foundation paid $30,000 for the totem, installation and one year of service. After that, SDOT will pay about $700 per year to maintain the system.

Portland and Ottawa, Canada are the only other cities to have an automated bike counter.

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