The Effects of Weather on Urban Trail Use: A National Study

Federal, state, and local transportation and recreation agencies, private foundations, and nonprofit organizations have invested billions of dollars in multiuse urban trails over the past thirty years. Trail managers and advocates need data about factors that affect trail use to manage these trails effectively. Many studies have documented the effects of weather on bicycling and walking, but most of these studies have focused on samples of individuals or traffic counts from a single facility, city, or region, or on population subsamples such as bicycle commuters. Studies that compare the effects of weather simultaneously on both bicyclists and pedestrians on the same types of facilities in different regions of the United States have not been published. This paper makes two contributions to the literature on non- motorized traffic monitoring and trail management. First, the authors report trail traffic monitoring results for 29 monitoring stations on multiuse trails in 14 cities in the United States, including locations in each of general climate regions and zones classified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy. The monitoring results include estimates of annual average daily bicyclists (AADB) and annual average daily pedestrians (AADP) for the period, July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. Second, the authors present a set of econometric models that summarize the effects of variation in temperature, precipitation, wind speed, dew point, and hours of daylight on daily bicycle and pedestrian trail traffic volumes. They compare regional elasticities for each weather variable for both bicyclists and pedestrians. Their results show that bicyclists and pedestrians on the same trails respond differently to variations in weather and that the responses of both bicyclists and pedestrians to these variations also vary regionally. Transportation planners and trail managers can use these results to assess the effects of weather on trail traffic throughout the United States.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABJ35 Standing Committee on Highway Traffic Monitoring. Alternate title: Using ADA Transition Plans to Improve Pedestrian Access to Transit: Downtown Atlanta Pilot Study
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Lindsey, Greg
    • Ermagun, Alireza
    • Loh, Tracy Hadden
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01589757
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-5835
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 12 2016 6:34PM