Trail use data and economic impact analyses are powerful tools to support trail development and sustained maintenance. RTC has worked with more than a dozen trails and scores of communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to conduct trail user surveys and produce reports that demonstrate the economic value of trails. Paired with infrared counters to capture trail traffic patterns, survey findings provide a picture of trail user characteristics and help identify the amenities that would improve user experiences.
Highlights from previous studies conducted by RTC include the following:
- Henry Hudson Trail (N.J.) – An analysis of the economic data and trail user counts leads to an estimated annual economic impact in excess of $910,000 on an annual basis.
- Lebanon Valley Rail Trail and Conewago Recreation Trail (Pa.) – Estimated 125,244 annual user visits for the combined trails, resulting in a total economic impact in 2011 of $1,326,064.
- Schuylkill River Trail (Pa.) –Total annual user visits were estimated at 802,239, with an economic impact of $7.3 million annually.
Trail user surveys help trail managers develop sustainable maintenance plans, meet programming needs of trail users and better identify marketing strategies to increase trail use.