Did You Know?

Only 24 percent of jobs in the region are accessible by transit in 90 minutes or less by a typical resident — and that number drops to 12 percent in the suburbs.

Trail study to measure benefits to Illinois communities

Trails for Illinois, a non-profit trails advocacy group, will count and survey trail users on six regional Illinois trails for eight weeks this summer to measure trails’ impact on local economies and quality of life./

Trails for Illinois Executive Director (and former Active Trans staffer) Steve Buchtel says that, unfortunately, trail development and promotion are low priorities in Illinois because the public and decision makers don’t have statistical information about the benefits of trails: jobs created, strokes and heart attacks prevented, dollars spent in local stores.

“Road builders and mall developers know you’ve got to show a return. They use numbers like jobs and travel time saved, and they get their projects built,” says Buchtel. “Trail agencies have to pitch their ideas with anecdotes and pictures of kids. Guess who gets more built?”

Two of the six trails to be surveyed are in the Chicago region.

  • Tunnel Hill Trail, southern Illinois
  • The Goshen Trail, Madison County/St. Louis Metro area
  • The Hennepin Canal Trail, northwest Illinois
  • The Fox River Trail, north central Illinois
  • The Rock Island Trail, central Illinois
  • Old Plank Road Trail, Chicagoland

To learn more about the project and learn how you can help, visit the Trails for Illinois website.