Up on the 606: Understanding the use of a new elevated pedestrian and bicycle trail in Chicago, Illinois

Paul H. Gobster, Sonya Sachdeva, Greg H Lindsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The 606 is the world’s first multiuse elevated trail, extending for 2.7 mi (4.35 km) through diverse neighborhoods whose per capita of open space is one of the lowest in Chicago. The trail connects six ground-level parks and is managed for recreation, but it also serves as a cross-town transportation connector and was funded partially with transportation dollars. Managers sought information about trail use to maintain a safe and harmonious experience for users, to plan operations and maintenance, and to document the benefits of trail development. The use of The 606 was examined during the first 6 months of 2016, and on the basis of those results, its use for the entire year was projected. Automated traffic monitoring with active infrared counters followed procedures in the FHWA Traffic Monitoring Guide. Screenline calibration tests revealed relatively high rates of occlusion owing to user type and traffic volume, yielding an adjustment factor of 1.239. Most users were pedestrians, but proportions varied by day of the week and time of day. Average daily traffic volumes between January 1 and June 30 at counters near the east and west ends of the trail were 3,500 and 3,000, respectively, with peak daily traffic exceeding 10,000. A regression model using weekdays and weekends, location on the trail, and temperature variables explained 80% of the daily use variation. Model extrapolation with historical weather averages estimated annual traffic volumes at 1.46 million and 1.3 million for the two sites, and a combined total annual miles traveled of 3.7 million (5.95 million km). Management implications and future research directions are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

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© 2017, SAGE Publications Ltd. All rights reserved.


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