Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the Great American Rail-Trail® will attract 25.6 million trips and generate more than $229.4 million in spending.
This study found that in Morgantown, West Virginia, one-quarter of trail users had not been active before the trail was built, and who report large increases in physical activity since they began using the trail. For most of these newly-active residents, the trail was the only place where they exercised and they report the trail’s safety, paved and flat terrain, and convenience as the most important considerations in deciding to use the trail.
This study found that a community rail-trail in West Virginia encourages new physical activity among inactive residents and greater physical activity for those who were already active, and that for many community members trail use is their only form of exercise. Trail cost per newly active resident is on the lower end of health interventions aimed at encouraging sedentary individuals to become active, and is likely to reach more people that other common interventions.