Follow The Money: Making a Strong Case for Investing in Trails

Posted 05/21/13 by Tracy Hadden Loh in Building Trails, Success Stories

The ability to convince leaders and lawmakers of the economic justification for investing in trails, biking and walking has become a critical part of trail building in these fiscally-challenging times.

Fortunately for those of us working toward more options for active transportation, investments in this infrastructure produce remarkable returns and have transformative effects on communities large and small, impressively out of proportion to the comparatively small budgets involved.

To borrow from boxing parlance, when it comes to value for money, trails punch well above their weight.

For example, the design, engineering and construction of walking and biking facilities has been shown to create more jobs per dollar than any other type of transportation infrastructure construction. And multi-year investments in destination trail systems across America routinely recoup that investment in a short period of time in the form of trails tourism spending.

The fiscal arguments for why our state and federal governments should make investing in biking and walking an economic priority are very strong. Which is why RTC and the Partnership for Active Transportation put together this handy two-page fact sheet on the economic impact of trails, to help advocates and trail champions make the case in their local communities. (Click the page to the right to download the fact sheet).

We hope you find it a useful tool. Be sure to share this, and other RTC economic impact resources and stories, with your peers and colleagues in trail building.

 The Partnership for Active Transportation, of which RTC is a member, is a collaboration of health, economic development and transportation advocates working for greater investment in biking, walking and trails. The Partnership helps local governments realize the economic benefits of robust, inter-connected networks of trails and active transportation facilities. You can learn more about the Partnership and endorse the Declaration of Active Transportation at

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