Challenges in Monitoring Regional Trail Traffic

Greg Lindsey, Lila Singer-Berk, Jeffrey S. Wilson, Eric Oberg, Tracy Hadden-Loh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This study reports traffic monitoring results at 30 locations on a 972-mi shared-use trail network across the east-central United States. We illustrate challenges in adapting the principles in the Federal Highway Administration’s Traffic Monitoring Guide to a regional trail network. We make four contributions: 1) we use factor analysis and k-means clustering to implement a stratified random process for selecting monitoring sites; 2) we illustrate quality assurance procedures and the challenges of obtaining valid results from a multi-state monitoring system; 3) we describe variation in trail traffic volumes across five land use classes in response to daily weather and seasons; and 4) we report two performance measures for the network: annual average daily trail traffic and trail miles traveled. The Rails to Trails Conservancy deployed passive infrared traffic monitors in 2015 through 2017. Site-specific regression models were used to impute missing daily traffic volumes. The effects of weather were consistent across land use classes but the effects of temporal variables, including weekend and season of year, varied. A plan for short-duration monitoring is presented. Results confirm the FHWA monitoring principles and the difficulties of implementing them regionally.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)98-109
    Number of pages12
    JournalTransportation Research Record
    Issue number43
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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