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Case Study

Louisville Loop Case Study

By: Rails-to-Trails-Conservancy CASE STUDY
February 16, 2024

Kentucky’s Louisville Loop Case Study

Prairie Corridor | Photo courtesy Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department

Essential for Livability, Business Development, Economic Growth and Prosperity

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Project Details

Lead Authority: Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation Department
Total Project Cost: $57,583,140
Funding Pledged to Date: $41,803,959

Federal: 38,271,491
State: $463,839
Local: $3,068,629

Shovel-Ready: Three years or less
Type: Urban, suburban

Transformative Impact

Job Creation: An estimated 969 jobs directly1 

Transportation Connectivity: When complete, the Loop will be located within 1 mile of 66 percent of residents, within 0.5 mile of 94 percent of bus routes and within 1 mile of 42 percent of public schools.

Health Benefits: Potential to promote healthy, active lifestyles and decrease long-term health-care costs due to improved community health

Economic Growth: By transforming Louisville into one of the nation’s most livable cities, the Loop will help attract businesses to the region and spark new waves of outdoor tourism.

Project Description

The Louisville Loop is not just a vision for a 100-miles-plus loop path system, but an essential component for the economic growth and prosperity of the entire region surrounding Louisville, Kentucky. Currently comprising 49 miles of completed trail and another 26 miles of trail in varying phases of design—the Loop will eventually travel through five physiographic regions, each which tell a different story of the history of Jefferson County and honor the legacy of the original Louisville Olmstead Parks and Parkways, designed more than 100 years ago.

Louisville endeavors to model itself after other urban leaders such as Denver, Indianapolis, Portland and Raleigh, whose green infrastructure, shared-use trails, active transportation systems, and safe and vibrant neighborhood districts make them some of the most livable cities in the nation. America’s new economy requires cities to invest in these resources, and with the Loop, Louisville is poised to join the list of most livable cities—attracting businesses and tourists that will fuel the region’s economic growth.

Foremost among the enormous benefits generated by the Loop are community engagement, health and wellness, economic development, balanced transportation and environmental conservation. When complete, the Loop will be located within a mile of 66 percent of Louisville’s residents, within 0.5 mile of 94 percent of the city’s bus lines and within a mile of 42 percent of the city’s public schools.

In 2011, Mayor Greg Fischer remarked on the potential of the Loop, stating, “The Louisville Loop will not only set us apart as a desirable city … it will bring us together as a community … it will be a wedding ring for our city … joining neighborhoods … helping connect people to recreation, to their work and to the place they do business.”


1 Estimated at 17 jobs per $1 million spent, according to a study commissioned by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) job creation; jobs in terms of full-time equivalents

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Everyone deserves access to safe ways to walk, bike, and be active outdoors.