Patterns and correlates of urban trail use: Evidence from the Cincinnati metropolitan area

Na Chen, Greg Lindsey, Chih Hao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Transportation, parks, and health organizations are collaborating to develop multiuse trail networks that meet the needs of metropolitan residents for utilitarian travel, recreation, and fitness. This paper describes how trails are used and explores correlates of trail use in the Greater Cincinnati region. Drawing on a systematic survey of users, we use ordinary probit and spatial models to explore the effects of socio-demographics, trip characteristics, attitudes, and the built environment, on recreational and utilitarian use. Most (89%) respondents report using trails for recreation; just 8.8% say they use trails for utilitarian purposes. Ordinary probit models show that users reporting recreational use are significantly more likely to be female, have incomes greater than $120,000, and travel longer distances on trails, but less likely to bike or walk to access trails. Transit connectivity is negatively correlated with recreational use. Trail users reporting utilitarian purposes are disproportionately male, significantly less likely to have incomes greater than $120,000, and more likely to take short trips on trails and to access trails by cycling or walking. They say they would commute more by cycling if connectivity were improved. Spatial probit model indicates negative spatial relationships among recreational users, implying the absence of a spatially-based common culture of trail use. Trail planners in this region can use these findings to strengthen the planning and design of trail networks and to meet the needs of different users. Given the finding most trail use is for recreational purposes, additional studies of the needs of utilitarian users are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-315
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
StatePublished - Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Multiuse trail
  • Planning
  • Recreation
  • Spatial modeling
  • Transportation


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