Photo CC npGreenway via Flickr

RTC designs and delivers customized trail development planning strategies for communities of all sizes using our expertise as well our command of national and international best practices.

Our national spatial trails dataset (the only one of its kind) enables us to use powerful analytical tools that provide an in-depth understanding of community infrastructure and socio-economic factors.

Corridor Assessments and Inventories

Assessment studies are the first step in the process of creating a trail. We begin with an inventory of the corridor, focusing on land use on or adjacent to the corridor, the basic integrity of structures on the trail (such as bridges or tunnels), the history of corridor disposition and current ownership. This process, with community input, informs the optimal trail alignment.

Trail Concept Plans and Feasibility Studies

Concept plans and feasibility studies help developers create the vision for a trail project, evaluate the project’s potential and establish guidelines for its implementation. RTC works closely with local organizations and elected officials, holding community meetings, workshops and training sessions, to achieve these objectives.

Our expertise in trail design and execution allows us to establish a clear framework for a project’s implementation following the concept plan and feasibility phase, including the sources of and schedule for funding, and project management.

Legal Review of Applicable State and Federal Laws

For the past 28 years, RTC has been the nation’s foremost—and in most cases, only—legal advocate for rail-trails in the nonprofit sector. With assistance from general counsel, we are able to provide legal reviews of state and federal laws that do, or could, impact trail development.

Trail Oriented Development (TrOD)

TrOD aims to provide a network of local business and housing choices within a web of safe and enticing trails. RTC develops strategies for local governments and stakeholders that promote and implement development that is supportive of TrOD.

As amenities, trails can serve as a pull for homebuyers and provide a new market for local businesses. TrOD seeks to combine the active-transportation benefits of a trail with the revitalization potential associated with well-designed and well-managed urban parks to help create more livable communities.

Funding Strategy Analysis

RTC understands that most communities take a creative approach to funding, often combining public and private funds to build and manage trails.

We identify available local, state and federal funding sources for trail projects and craft a strategy to support all phases of development and maintenance. Additionally, we help navigate communities navigate the complexities of federal funding programs and provide analyses of state funding trends.

Related Projects


Milwaukee Road

RTC has brought dozens of cross-state representatives together to explore the opportunities and challenges that exist for trail development along a corridor in Idaho and Montana.

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Liberty-Water Gap

Working with local partners, RTC completed a study to determine the feasibility of completing the final section of the 150-mile Liberty Water Gap Trail through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.

View Project