Write a Letter in Support of Trails

Let your representative know that trails are important.

Contact Your Local Official

Quick Links to Official Government Web sites
whitehouse.gov senate.gov house.gov

Talking Points to Make a Strong Case

Traffic Congestion

Biking and walking infrastructure is a solution to local traffic congestion. Pilot studies have proven that people will chose biking and walking over driving for daily trips if the infrastructure is in place. In Minneapolis, Minn., for example, 28 percent of all trips don't rely on a car. The proof: Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program: 2014 Report.

Building more highways and roads has failed to stem the rise in congestion. Between 1982 and 2011, the number of hours of vehicle delay in urban areas rose 360 percent, even as the number of highway and road miles increased by 61 percent. The proof: Texas A & M’s Annual Urban Mobility Report.

Economic Development

Trails boost the desirability and value of the homes and neighborhoods they connect to. Did you know…? Prospective homebuyers in Ohio were willing to pay an additional $9,000 to be located 1,000 feet closer to a trail. The proof: 2012 study by University of Cincinnati School of Planning.

Trails and pathways have been proven to increase activity in downtown business areas, by making it easier for people to get to stores without having to worry about parking and traffic. Did you know…? The business occupancy rate in downtown Dunedin, Fla., increased from 30 percent to 95 percent following the establishment of the nearby Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail. The proof: RTC’s handy fact sheet on Investing in Trails.

Transportation Patterns

Americans are already beginning to shift away from cars for daily transportation in favor of biking, walking and transit systems. Our community needs to respond in order to attract new residents and businesses. Did you know…? The current generation of young Americans is the first in our history to be less likely to get a driver’s license than their parents. The proof: Transportation and the New Generation, 2012.

Biking and walking is not just “an urban trend.” Did you know…? The share of work trips made by bicycle in small towns is nearly double that of urban centers. The proof: RTC’s 2012 report, Beyond Urban Centers.

Crime and Safety

Although trail opponents often express fears that a trail will increase crime and cause safety issues, the actual documented impact of trails is that they reduce criminal activity, increase regular monitoring and improve the public safety of previously disused spaces. The proof: RTC’s study on Crime and Perceptions of Safety on Urban Trails.

“I want to walk or bike to get where I'm going, but I don't feel safe sharing the road.” Did you know…? Trails and separated pathways not only encourage more biking and walking, they reduce accident rates. The proof: Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program: 2014 Report.


Obesity is the most pressing public health crisis of our age, particularly among children. Making walking and biking a regular part of daily activities by providing convenient pathways is one of the most cost-effective ways to combat physical inactivity. Did you know…? Obesity costs America more than $190 billion in reactive healthcare spending each year. Investing in trails helps communities cut their obesity rates.

Importance of Federal Programs to Trails, Biking and Walking

The Transportation Alternatives (TA) program is by far the largest source of funding for active-transportation projects, including trails, and biking and walking infrastructure. Since 1991, TA-funded projects have had a transformative effect on thousands of communities of all sizes.

You can learn about the various TA-funded projects in your community through RTC’s Transportation Alternatives Data Exchange (TrADE), which compiles information on TA spending by states and local communities. This service provides professionals, policy makers and citizens with information about how their communities have benefited from this successful and popular funding source.

These resources below demonstrate the great importance to your community of the three federal funding programs for trails. Arm yourself with information: use these resources to urge your local, state or federal representative to support the funding sources that make America’s trails possible!