Trails Transform America

Advocate Now!

Photo: The Ronald Kirk pedestrian bridge (left) and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge over the Trinity Skyline Trail, Dallas, Texas

Across America, trail networks are emerging, and communities are seeking to maximize the benefits that trail connectivity can bring.

This work is changing our communities—urban, suburban and rural—for the better, and it is imperative that we elevate and advance the value of these connected trail systems at the federal level. Congress must understand that we need increased levels of federal investment to ensure that we seize these opportunities.

At RTC, we have our eyes fixed on two opportunities—a potential infrastructure bill in 2019, and the next reauthorization of the federal transportation bill in 2020—and we’ve got a big ask: that Congress delivers a visionary policy that is necessary to meet the rising demand for trails and active transportation.

The Trails Transform America campaign has this message for Congress: Trail networks are as fundamental to America’s transportation systems as roads and rail lines and deserve robust federal investment.

Walking and biking networks aren’t just for some communities—but for all Americans. Our vision is for Congress to fund safe, connected trail networks everywhere, for everyone. Join RTC as we fight for this visionary change.

A Visionary Federal Transportation Reauthorization Bill

Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act expires in September 2020. With America’s growing demand for safe walkable and bikeable places, and the need for investments that protect our climate and create vital communities, we are looking to Congress to pass a transformative bill that meets America’s diverse—and evolving—transportation needs.

RTC is working directly with members of Congress, partners and advocates in pursuit of a transformative transportation bill that provides an increase in funding dedicated for active transportation that is focused on completing trail and active transportation networks, and strengthens the Transportation Alternatives program to provide the policy direction necessary to ensure that all states invest in safe places to walk and bike.

In the Headlines


States are Losing Millions in Biking and Walking Funds

By Angie Schmitt—09/05/18

Investing in the transportation America needs

By Kevin Mills—01/31/18

Why regional trails merit role in infrastructure debate


State of Federal Funding for Trails

While demand for investments in trail and active transportation infrastructure continues to grow across the U.S., the funding available remains small. Cumulative findings from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s annual analysis of the Transportation Alternatives program indicate that the country’s largest source of funding for active transportation is facing challenges in implementation. Moreover, overall funding simply isn’t enough.

Since the program’s inception, RTC’s has tracked spending through an annual Transportation Alternatives Spending Report that shows program investments in each state. The annual Transportation Alternatives Spending Report has been an important tool as RTC, states and the active transportation movement have sought to strengthen the program, improving the efficiency and efficacy of the investments made.

Spending Report Project Search Transportation Alternatives Analysis Press Release

Trails Transform America Webinar

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, RTC kicked off the "Trails Transform America" campaign with a webinar on how leveraging trails and walking and biking infrastructure can result in incredible benefits for communities and regions, and how to communicate these benefits to generate project support. You can also share your story here.

Trails Transform America - Infrastructure Update

With a federal infrastructure bill in play for 2018, and a renewal of federal transportation legislation only two years away, now is the time to advocate for trails.

Case Studies

Explore trail network projects that are bringing transformative benefits to communities nationwide. These project case studies outline project plans, status of funding and specific economic and health benefits that these projects promise.

Advocate for Trail Networks

 Follow RTC on Twitter and #TrailsTransformUS to track the conversation.

Share Your Story Sign Up for News Write Your Local Paper


RTC’s resources provide data and research to help you make the case for trails. Download our analysis of federal trail and active transportation spending, research on the impact and prevalence of rural trails, and a landmark study of active transportation nationwide.

Past Spending Reports Beyond Urban Centers Report Active Transportation for America Report

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